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Scar Tissue

The pristine quickens
over the carpet, twirring mechanistic
talk (dusky hills vulnerable
like bellies beyond it).
Vertical incision,
about 4 inches of pointless
entry. Nothing
can be done, but something can always
(the punctured space
hidden by her paper frock)
be done about the pain.

Before the industrial
revolution hospice meant rest
for any traveler.
Energy is involved now, a sweaty
sheen on the window pane,
the hum of the nurses’ bodies (the traveler
is cold to the touch but she breathes
in a plastic press [deflated but oxygen is flowing])

The what of hers will be ours discussion
happens elsewhere,
breathe but it will happen
breathe but catalog the pooled resources
reel portions in
mark what is ours,
what desire, ours,
what of hers might pool in us
might later help us manifest her
managing always the desire for breath
simultaneous with the claiming of resources & end of pain
she breathes
she is silent
she breathes

What I want is the piano.
There’s a rendition from Annie she plays
I love ya
The harmony descends without
reference to the pitch of the voice.

Signet cells kings’ rings gathered
and were scraped off the wall
of the abdomen with a needle.

The scar tissue knotted
inside her,
the salvific mouth tears
at her delicate intestinal
tissue. What healed her, the doctor explains,
is now starving her. What his knife
couldn’t penetrate
is the beneficence of the body,
armor for new buds
of cancerous spores.

So she waits.
The waiting is every trip I ever took
away from her, about which she brags
in a postcard,

Dear ones I did well today
I only threw up once.

The scar tissue expands and covers everything
else. Of all I inherited,
the memory of this tender, strangulating
armor is what remains.

Cassandra Farrin is a poet, adoptive parent, and editor of nonfiction books on the history of religion. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Cirque, Progressing Spirit, the Ploughshares blog, and elsewhere. Her poem “On the Origin of the World” is forthcoming in Gender Violence, Rape Culture, and Religion. In May 2017 she launched the blog Ginger & Sage on religion, culture, and the land.