Wednesday, April 06, 2011

National Poetry Month: Right-Hand Man

Right-Hand Man
by Phoebe Tsang

Waving goodbye to you was like cutting off
my right arm: I bled for days before
I found a doctor to seal the stump with a hundred
slick stitches, red and raw as mosquito-kisses.

At first I didn't want the replacement
he offered me-- it didn't look real
and smelled suspiciously sterile
in the clean-cut style of medical men.

It languished in my room while I mourned
my old arm I'd left wrapped
tight round your heart and wondered
if you'd noticed yet and shaken it off--

In time I got used to the idea. Now
my shiny new graft arm follows the surgeon around
like a well-trained pet. No one would guess
that inside are just batteries and wirse.

Sometimes I wonder how it would be if my dear
doctor ever took his arm back from me
and would I even feel a phantom
emptiness, since I've no blood left to spill:

I used it all up dying for you, thinking
I'd never survive until I realised
I'm better off without a useless limb
that never knew how to hold on to you, to let go.

All of this week's poems have been from the anthology Not a Muse: The Inner Lives of Women, a World Poetry Anthology, edited by Kate Rogers and Viki Holmes

Book Provided by... the publisher, for review consideration

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