each morning she tries to clear the bear tracks
 from her eyes. each optometrist believes her 

corneas are a forest reality crashes through
blindly, even though they all suffer from owl

ring, which goes undiagnosed two point five out
of three cases per annum. trust a professional to catch

the mouse tail creasing your earlobe – hear
the soft wings of night three seconds before

your friends? the troubled sigh of fog ere
your mother-in-law? – and she’s liable 

to contract its phantom form. this, I think,
is what a confused accountant meant when

he talked about the “tension of improvised
reality” while watching unshowered people 

try to scour their country of corruption
at a park in New York that refused the simple

sung-triptych of running water: a diagnosis
can haunt itself, especially when ad-libbed.

stork bites beneath my sister’s hair can be
salmon patches, angel kisses. the rough patch

on your elbow can be paver’s revenge, Vulcan’s
caress, but you didn’t get it from me. the quirks

of your body are not yours though your body
is, unless you’re pregnant in the middle of something,

and how pretty is that? as gorgeous as the heron
nubs on your scapulae – aka masseuse’s night-

mare – or the mercurial knobs of your ankles:
evidence, like the gills we bequeathed to wombs

to leave them, the body thought it could move
in any essence, until our names anchored it to one.