A Medical Patient Meditates on the Deep State of Microbiota
At first I thought my body was mine,
that I’m a foxholed field of wild kale
waving me to the sky.
Hedges can’t contain me
if I’m a fox, a left field of kale.
My first thought was: my body. Mine. No hedge
could contain me. I was sure of myself.
I was thinking feeling
even when I first thought, was it mine?
Now I know I’m communally run
though I was sure of feeling sure. My self.
No. Phages rampage
my roboguts. I know I’m being run
and that, when I thought I had killed them,
new phages rampaged through. There are
those who live in, gang me
so that, while I assumed I could kill them,
creatures settled this loved corps,
minding me, steering me, veering me,
laying me down to die.
Look: Diagonal Knife Strokes Along the Bone
Flowstone curtains stuck in these carbonate throats,
resurgent water laked here where—sniff for them—
Posthumous milk: poets feast on it like blood
in that refectory where poems are beasts.
Cuts trap words.
Do we wolf each other? Did they? I chop:
whatever they ate, their lives slice me some lines.
They’d scoff: “Taste.”
Claire Crowther has published three poetry collections with Shearsman and her poems appear in such journals as London Review of Books, PN Review, Poetry Review, and Poetry Wales. She doesn’t travel much but has made an exception of Berkeley, USA, not entirely on account of Moe’s bookshop where she gave a reading last summer. Her next collection will be a prehumous elegy about her partner, solar physicist, Keith Barnham.