White Matter

This is the washboard
where you laid out my brain
like a Persian rug

You unrolled it
like your tongue
A long, slender thing
Large enough to wrap a body in
and carry, hostage lover, away

This here is the grey matter
If you spread your hands across further:
My brain–warm jelly you delight to grasp,
in your right hand the soap,
You will reach the white matter
Distressed into the flower pattern
The center piece
where my almost dead body was housed
The edges
are small, square repetitions
of this pattern

Like my thoughts
All paths firing together
Connected to one pulsing picture in the middle
They call out:
Are you lying to me?

Are you?
Are you lying to me?

Though you have tried
to render me
immobile through time
I exist still in memories
Where you did not occupy my every hour
Poke here, with a blunt scalpel
and I’ll remember

And here, I’d like to think
Although I can never assume to know
is the brain stem
A small bouquet
of daisies
Like hope, finding me carefree
On a Sunday

Where I wrote poems to myself
When I lost both pen and paper to you
Almost understood desperation to mean
using my skin and nails

In this part of my brain I knew
Every time I wrote a poem
Saying these are my deepest desires
These are the words I thought
I was launching
out of a tree house like a paper-cup telephone
to a friend’s house next door
sometime in the thick of July

Only to find the distance
was across a land-mark bridge
with a sunken middle
in a mist of the century

This is where I knew
We do not have a common enemy
You, with a mouth that yawns at tears
Are the enemy


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