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My Autopsy (excerpt)

There is a way

if we want

into everything

I’ll eat the chicken carbonara and you eat the veal, the olives, the small

     and glowing

     loaves of bread

I’ll eat the waiter, the waitress

floating through the candled dark in shiny black slacks

like water at night

The napkins, folded into paper boats, contain invisible Japanese poems

You eat the forks

all the knives, asleep and waiting

on the white tables

What do you love?

I love the way our teeth stay long after we’re gone, hanging on despite
worms or fire

I love our stomachs

turning over

the earth


There is a way

if we want

to stay, to leave


My lungs are made out of smoke   ash   sunlight   air

Particles of skin

The invisible floating universe of kisses rising up in a sequined helix
of dust and cinnamon

Breathe in

Breathe out

I smoke

unfiltered Shepheard’s Hotel cigarettes

from a green box, with a dog on the cover, I smoke them

here, and I’ll smoke them


from The End of the WestFind it in the library

Copyright © 2009 Michael Dickman
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Michael Dickman 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.