poem: Isis

“Arm. Hand. Foot. Calf. Thigh.
These: the five ways to love him.”
–Anonymous

After more than a year, after her husband’s
body was cut into thirteen pieces, scattered throughout
the Midwest, she nearly has all of him.

Once,
after discovering the second hand, in a
sewer in Indiana, after hissing at the rats nipping
at it, after her breath lit them into ash,
she returned home. To a freezer of two hands,
an arm and a thigh. This once did she indulge herself,
just enough, weeping slightly into the spoilt meat,
joining the right hand and arm at the wrist.
This once, she whispered a trio of ancient words,
then watched the hand slowly open, close.
She then took a paring knife
and separated them. She knew, if careless,
there was still time for her to go mad.

Now, with the torso gingerly retrieved from
a junkyard in Detroit, the smell of the rust
even stronger than the death, the torso lying
on the backroom floor, now she can finally
link the arms, to hands;
link the thigh, to calf, to foot, thigh to calf to foot.
Her husband is once again taller than her.
Long enough to leave the freezer for their bed.

She carries him there, lies them down.
She buries her screams. Soon, she will recover
the head, the pelvis. Then the work will be done:

it is then that she will mouth the final words,
watch the breath invade his lungs, then retreat
in a coughing fit. It is then that his eyes will slowly rebirth
his gaze, when their locking eyes will know the magic
can only sustain the reunion for an hour,
that there is no time for anything but lovemaking,
as mad as two can ever be in the face of the clock;

it is then that she will receive him for the last time
in this house. She will feel the life jetting through her,
into her, the quiet conception. She will feel the stirring
of her son before her husband is, once again, still.
She will sleep for an hour, then dress
and catch the 21 to work.

Before all of this, however, she has nearly all of him.
Just enough, to lie down.
Just enough, to wrap around.

The beauty of living in the city
is that no one believes you’re a goddess.
No one would question why she’d
collect the strewn pieces of the love of her life.
The beauty of living in the city

is that no one will see you
holding hands with a hand;
no one will ask
why it is holding you back.

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