Monday, April 4, 2011

check up

self-exam (my body is a cage)

Do this: take two fingers, push them into
the spot behind your ear, the spot

your skull drops off

into that valley of muscle
& nerve-this is the muscle that holds up

the skull, that nods the dumb bone
this way & that

when you think you under-
stand, when you think you get it-press deeper

into the gristle, find that little bundle of
nerves-the nerves

that make you blink at day-

light, that make your tongue slide in &
out when you think you're in

love, when you think you need a drink, touch
that spot as if you had an itch
as if it were a button, as if you were

an elevator, close your eyes &
listen, please, close
your eyes-can you hear it? We think our souls live

in boxes, we think someone sits behind our eyes,
lording from his little throne, steering the fork to

the mouth, the mouth to the tit, we think hungry
children live in our bellies, clutching their empty

bowls as the food rains
down, we sometimes think we are those

hungry children, we think
we can think anything & it won't

matter, we think we can think cut out her tongue,
then ask her to sing

By Nick Flynn
from the captain asks for a show of hands

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