I ask to climb inside you.
First slice the shield-front of your chest and stomach–
a soft-edged rectangle, the shape of an egg carton, then
fold that flap, those abdominal pulls like a drawbridge,
and remove your smooth insides with my small hands. Don’t worry, I’ll be careful–
your guts will be piled in preserves for little museum-children;
the polished floors won’t know what hit them
I’ll tense to dive in, as at childhood pools,
wet flat feet bouncing, testing the springboard
of your skin, shaking expecting
cold and chlorine. But this time, as my brave
hairline tips my body forward, it’s into you,
familiar fluids with the pH of mine, the same salt-tipped taste.
Rocked by hips and ribcage, I’ll feel steadied by your spine.
Don’t furrow your brow looking down; I’ll do everything:
fill the cavities of the organs I’ve displaced,
bring oxygen to your bicep’s tugging swells, your
smooth-coursing blood; tingle your spine-needles;
claw your heart in my fist and contain the urge to see it
balloon out between my fingers; contract at drum-beats.
“But you can’t do it all, little thing,” you tell me.
“And besides, where would you pee?”
As usual, your cool-fronted forehead
conquers your hot, pushing insides.
So my sad-slanted collarbones come from your torso,
my palms flat too soon on the sliced flap.
Then, with my tongue and two fingers, I sew you up—
as I once did your bed-pillows –
with fingernail-stitches and dangling threads.
This poem originally appeared in Volume 6 of The Ampersand Review
Elizabeth Meaney is a poetry student in the Hunter College M.F.A. program and an alumna of the University of Notre Dame. She has published poetry in Xenith, the Furnace Review, and Cicada Magazine. Her first novel, Bloodthirsty, will be published in September 2010 under the name Flynn Meaney. She dedicates this poem to Michael McDonnell.