If I can’t say, brother, what I meant to say, tell yourself a grudge was my homage to you.
The benevolent bulk of your shadow, dragon like, cutting the wounded helpfully
the anticipation of sewing them back together. Like watching grass grow.
Mangled hands, the person who let their arm dangle out a window
and the van rolled on it so that an attending holds her wrist up while
you bend over the thousand capillaries, clock the place to snip the spool.
Cold room, then, for the woman who didn’t see it coming, crumpled from
damage sunk into everything. You repair, you store ointment
in wounds which is your work. Your eyes always dip to sleep after a remark
about how climatologists are overreacting, the march of history, the next civil war,
all good things come to an end. What kind of bandage
goes with this single mode of protection: against threats only—
warning me about counting cash on the street, to stockpiling water
or attack dogs. Your scrubs a mess
of bloody willows, of fire breathing, of trust me I’m a doctor, or eat shit and die,
of it’s okay but in the future try to remember. Because blood doesn't lie.
All my back talk only for you, it trained me
for this moment. Together you and I can make anyone uncomfortable, clear the room
snapping out headlines that cancel each other out, brandishing outliers,
and then freedom—
most of a nation learned to lean out the window never suspecting this danger.
One arm now restless in the lap,
the other mostly useless from wanting a moment in the free wind.