Poems - Issue 5
Autopsying the Invisible Man
In life, his clothes picked him out against the sky.
Open cuffs, a collar full of air. But he died
suitless, and without shoes,
so your first task, perusing the empty trolley,
is redefine empty.
Do as your mother instructed
when you were small, and woke
in the dark, and shook:
reach for what you know is there. The light
waiting in its square on the wall, the world
as you know it.
Trust your hands,
which do not lie the way eyes lie, but admit
the clammy planes of the body.
(Imagine his mother, dabbing at space
with a spittling rag. Imagine the seeds,
like dark stars in his teeth).
Your scalpel finds a thought and parts it.
The tiles look clean, but your gloves are wet.
Your thumbs sponge at the split.
Don’t be surprised when you vanish to your wrists
as you root for cause in the clear slack.
A magic trick:
his belly swallows your hands whole.
You decant the lungs, the slick spleen.
The heart, less visible than glass, perhaps twice
as heavy as your best guess.
(Imagine never catching
a smile across a room. Never being looked
directly in the eye).
You note the numbers,
wonder as you peel back from the jaw up
if sadness can accumulate mass
over time. If loneliness carries
a quantifiable weight.