One morning you told me we could rent a car & search for dead so fresh they’d yet to be anointed
by flies. Sometimes, you said, in the belly there’s a baby waiting to be saved. Sometimes
you just want a small piece to stitch yourself to. So far, the strips of chemical paper & piss
have divined a blessing. No small tragedy blooms a nylon line around us yet, despite
all summer, skin to skin, how we bred responsibility out of our bed. I crave
a little risk. Like years ago, with gasoline I set fire to a cage of sticks. The flames spread
their palms, first outward from the center, then skyward, to the lowest branches. I had
no choice but to smother their enlightenment. The next morning, my mother surveyed
my damage & discovered a pup, small & pink, an uncooked kidney bean nestled on a leaf.
For six days she kept it warm between her breasts, fed it buttermilk from a dropper,
cut an egg carton into a crib to keep on her nightstand while she slept. On the seventh day,
my mother wept. Its eyes wouldn’t open. It was hopeless. I didn’t know you yet.
Lucas Jorgensen is a poet and educator from Cleveland, Ohio. He holds an MFA from New York University where he was a Goldwater Fellow. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Texas and reads poetry for The Iowa Review and American Literary Review. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming fromThe Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Fugue, Poet Lore, and others. You can find him at lucasjorgensen.org.