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Because I’ve seen the way a body

looks preserved, I turned away

from you. That’s the most

that I could do. Distance, dear,

makes the heart grow weary.

The scene where I’m your citizen,

but am touching myself inside

a stranger’s apartment as, in Yemen,

an American drone kills 14 at

a wedding, mistakenly. Mistakenly,

I chose the hydrangea, whose large pink

blush has been said to match the size

of a sender’s heart. When not pruned

properly, the flowers sag, begin

to break. Once, you fed me heart

on a skewer. After, I read the animal

would be inside me forever,

idea that made me sick for days.

Now, my autoerotic display,

while, in Yemen, vehicles still

are smoking. Distance makes easy

unmanning the hands. I hasten

to compare the scene where

I’m such a terror in that dress,

where the flowers are all a mess,

and I’m gussied up. I’m turned on

by men I’ve never met. What a wedding

photographer, as anyone poses

candid for the drone. But, no, I’m

only posing for myself, in the mirror.

Because I’ve seen the cadaver lab.

I’ve held the brain and know

you could make a curtain of the small

intestine, that the cerebellum

resembles the pressed fossil,

a coniferous needle cluster. That

the heart is not so after all

impressive. Though it is heavy.

I don’t know what it is to be a target

for someone other than myself.

Just that twinning the body

with another doesn’t put on pause

the old atrocities, love, all our

ceremonies ruined. Sown with salt.

from Poetry Northwest 10.1 Summer & Fall 2015More by Corey Van Landingham from the library

Copyright © Corey Van Landingham
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Corey Van Landingham Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.