by Amber Edmondson
This is your ribcage. You hammered it
from rusted metal on an anvil of river stone.
Tell me how you watched the flecks and flakes of you
fall to wet sand, their color the color of dried blood or nutmeg. These are your ribs: I want your breath to move them.
These are your hands. You have two.
Systems of levers and hinges, mechanical
if not for the way you wrapped them in skin and blood,
nerve endings wired to brain, and your hands
are the conduits of muscle memory. They are pathways, neutral. These are your hands: I want you to tell them what to hold.
This is the bridge of your nose you reset after breaking. It used to be the center of your face, but now
it lies to the right of the meridian, its crooked line,
the knob where bone joined bone.
This is the bridge of your nose: I want it to remind you how to heal.
This is your sternum. It’s where you keep your heart,
a locked door, impenetrable but for the cleverest of weapons. Remember that this is armor, but it’s also the size of a hand
and hands can press you down. Hands can be stronger than hearts. This is your sternum: I want you to be careful.
This is your body. You made this. Not your mother or father,
your allies or enemy. You’ve gathered your pieces
from riverbanks and alleyways, classrooms and cathedrals,
stolen parts you liked, parts you wanted to turn over in your hands. Show me the seam where you stitched yourself together.
This is your body: It wants you to be whole.
Amber Edmondson is a book artist who lives on a decommissioned Air Force base. She studied English at Northwestern Michigan College. Publications include The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works, Dunes Review, and Border Crossing. She has been a runner-up for the William J. Shaw Memorial Prize for Poetry and, in 2013, received three Pushcart nominations. She believes in the ability of the written word to sometimes communicate exactly what we want to say. You can find her work at furredandferal.wordpress.com.