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You think it’s enough to wait all morning
for snow that never comes while up
in the atmosphere flakes drift for hours

without touching the ground. What about
those women—is it always women?—
who lick the cathedral floor as they crawl

toward a distant altar? All this time we’ve
been in a garden, our books, meals,
love, touch and the folds of our bodies.

Only now that we’ve crawled to the edge
do we see a sword flaming above us
and in the dirt we lick from our fingers,

struggles of myriad bacteria,
potato bugs, pairs of hermaphroditic
earthworms lining up segments

so when they complete the act of love,
both are pregnant. That’s magical,
isn’t it? I rattle into a scanner, soaked

with radioactive isotopes, technicians
reading the shape and power of my heart.
Watch your elbows, Linda says as she

scuttles me out. I eat crackers and drink
the required ginger ale. Another patient
gets his legs tied. He can’t stay still.

An invisible needle pulls through our bodies
promising healing. Certain doors remain
locked. Small bandages blot up blood.



Barbara Daniels is the author of Talk to the Lioness (Casa de Cinco Hermanas) and has received four fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.



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