My flesh loosens. My hands ache.
I’m sifting through photographs,
dropping scenery into the trash. People
I save, the ones I remember. My sister’s
dead husband hugs her in every picture,
the rest of us standing stiff and dismayed.
I am multiple: high school girl in rose satin,
brocaded bride, straw hair absurdly curled,
teetery heels on my sweating feet.
Girls pull taffy, argue, laugh, then
walk down tree-ghosted sidewalks.
I’ll never forget today one promises,
but I’m looking past her, something
sharp closing my throat. There’s
a flaw in me, a crack in ceramic.
If drinking helped, I’d be a drunk now.
If running, a runner. You’re a nice kid,
a nice boy wrote on his picture.
We were lab partners, cutting a frog
to find the cloaca, the animal
cavity for waste and sex. It helps
to know that under my skin there’s
a maze of organs, a stubborn heart,
surgical clips keeping back blood.