The Machine Of The Body

The Machine Of The Body

I
Carburetors, oil change, timing
And distribution — transmissions
Universal joints, and always
The possibility of a good trade in.

II
Coming out of surgery is like Orpheus
Maybe, coming out of surgery, returning
From the underworld — that’s done.
We’ve been there and there’s no looking
Back (if you are wise enough and not forgetful).
Going under in the first place is returning
To unimagined worlds, yet well known.

She has just been there and is now on her way
back, Eurydice, she who once came so near
To real death: we agree, she will look forward.
Me, I will not make the mistake of looking
Over my shoulder again, the way it was
The time we cannot but remember, the great
Outpouring of blood after the other safe returns.
“Bring her in, now!” the doctor on the phone.
Then, the feverous terror of the wild ride to Emergency.
The newly born, swaddled next to her, in the back
Of the station wagon, our friend driving like hell.

III
Now, we will not return to that underworld
Filled with tubes, monitored, packing against
Death, fending off, her face coming from ashy
To life again, from the gelid depths of fear.
She has been there and is back again, Eurydice.
We have a pact. We will not go there again.

But we both know there are no proper dice
In these matters — no heads, no tails, the odds
Are too various for us to chipper, and the three
Weird sisters know nothing of this, though they
Claim to know: Hecate comes along and claims
She has precedence in these matters — but she
Doesn’t even come close to any “readiness” at all.
And they care not a tittle, really, even if they did.
Besides each other, we have the Holy Ghost
On our side, and that’s myth enough for us.

-T.C.Buell

BACK TO POEMS PAGE