Burn Ward

What did I know then of the resurrection
through
metal?

 

All I saw was how fire had eaten the honey
of his flesh.

 

Up one leg and into a shoulder,
most of a cheek.

 

And yet he stood, cradled
the rack, eyes

 

wet, blistered with shock,
as the cage closed

 

and the cables snickered in.
I thought Michelangelo’s

 

Christ,
cool stone

 

(orderly at his elbow,
me carrying vials of blood

 

STAT
to C-Lab).

 

That seven story lift—last shaft of peacefulness
before the searing

 

sheeted in
and they’d peel

 

away his clothes, that fine webbing
of synthetic

 

and arm.
What howls rose then

 

beyond the heavy swinging doors
of the Burn Ward?

 

I walked by for weeks,
tried to see

 

the debridement,
the reverse burning,

 

water for
fire—the grafting—

 

the man partially lizard in that clean room.
The nurses’ bodies

 

through the Demerol
like raw angels

 

dabbing his burning half with a cotton ball
soaked in silver

 

until
he was chromed and barred.

 

A kind of xylophone whose primary song
was pain.

 

Cool stoke of the hammer:
new flesh (howl),

 

dream of wife’s body, island
he could sink his whole mouth onto,

 

healed (howl), risen
(howl again)—

 

time like an anvil—
somebody’s face (mine often)

 

pressed one side of a page-sized window
scratched by breath and hand.

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