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Learning to Eat the Body

Not easy
when Christ gets stuck to the roof of your mouth
which is good for you nonetheless —

strengthening and lengthening the tongue
for future use
and the disgrace

of our mother
who called the body a temple
(the soul being the air inside

which later explained
why the penis waves about
as soon as it enters).

Eventually her temple needed
an add-on: an entrance and exit
ramp and extra story

for the brain-injured
where her husband (our father)
could again safely get lost.

Work the tongue long enough
(eyes shut) and what
was an answer

becomes a question:
Why do I feel so ordinary
with Christ inside me?

Even the broad-shouldered poet
from Minnesota pronounced it
like a priest: The body

(his hand rising) thus christening
again your ear, my tongue
into abstraction.

But when I lay along my mother’s body,
it refused to become the body, as if soul
remained a density within each cell.

Or did the temple finally fall
and soul’s left free
to do as it pleases?

Meanwhile, the border
between your skin and mine ages
thickening here, thinning there, lax

between sleep and wakefulness —
do not call this permeability

rather, two horses
in adjacent stalls
exchanging breath.

Mermer Blakeslee


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