Spine Surgery

p
o
e
m
s

nerve-root
               cord in the tunnel
                             from mind to the far
               extremities
the flesh tendrils
               how they transit & exit
                             with more truth
               than they can carry
the neurons
               like crowds
                             in the capital
               buzzing in distress
long dendrites
               bristling with
                             pain we
have never dreamed of
in this our shattered
               body politic
                             here is the knife
               to cut open
flesh and grind back
               bony facets
                             pick out the debris
               with tweezers
and as there is no other way
               we feel almost
                             happy as we
               count backwards
going under

Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Said Not Said (Graywolf Press).

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