After the Procedure


He’s pasting me closed. Behind him, the biopsies
are each blushing in their own vial.

I struggle to keep my lips peeled back
around the pistil

of language. Not pistil, pistol.
Not violent, but violet.

Each word striking
wide of its mark yet marking time. My muscles

picking neither fight nor flight. Instead,
each hammer head of each filament cocks then drags

tight; I contort
under the torque of some socket wrench ratcheting

the hex tighter than hand-tight.
Hands tightened to numb. Arms a box, as a boxer’s, above my ribs.

I narrate my loss feeling
by feeling; frantic. I am at the surface

where I am still
drowning, my body still around me.

Sam Liming