Your emotional quotient is lacking, you say.
(Can’t you see the stale wound,
the old nail breeding
wicked hemoglobin?) A slightly low
white cell count is no cause for alarm.
How could I be alarmed at eight a.m.,
groggy from drugs you gave me,
my body nearly abandoned, when
the cries from my nightstand found my hand,
your voice my ear? I had no choice.
You’re no pusher, just a dealer
of unrelenting carrots. I feel unrepentant
in the face of my fear eroding and tearing apace
all I’ve clenched in me since I received
these gifts, cold, bone-sharp and blue.
Back then, God and the Speaker held my body
ransom for the deal: in return for their protection
I agreed to certain leases, subject to clauses, seizure.
But I skipped the fine print:
There is no protection, no refuge. I gave notice,
recalled the exit clause (hinged on the landlords’ theft),
posed for my final close-up, and left.
I have squatter’s rights to these bones and vessels,
fight those who would purchase, clear, over-develop,
and learn the riddles of a cat once burned.
I played my part for the benefits: sanctity and deliverance.
The sanctuary burned as he ripped through me,
good girl fell where the towel turned red.
I embrace the unspeakable liberty
of the unredeemed and the newly-dead.
The prize of un-redemption? A rusty nail?
Now, a few drops more of that blood proclaim
a life-sentence, or death-sentence as it were—
all for a small stain, a gaff in contract,
non-binding—as I come unbound.