Dorianne Laux

I’d forgotten how fast it happens, the blush of fear

and the feeling of helpless infantile stupidity, stooped

over the sink, warm water gushing into a soapy bowl,

my stuck fingers plunged in, knuckles bumping the glass

like a stillborn pig in formaldehyde, my aging eyes

straining to read the warning label in minus two type,

lifting the dripping deformed thing up every few seconds

to stare, unbelieving, at the seamless joining, the skin

truly bonded as they say happens immediately, thinking:

Truth in Labeling, thinking: This is how I began inside

my mother’s belly, before I divided toe from toe, bloomed

into separation like a peach-colored rose, my eyes going slick

and opening, my mouth releasing itself from itself to make

lips, legs one thick fin of thrashing flesh wanting to be two,

unlocking from ankles to knees, cells releasing between

my thighs, not stopping there but wanting more double-ness,

up to the crotch and into the crotch, needing the split

to go deeper, carve a core, a pit, a two-sided womb, with

or without me my body would perform this sideshow

trick and then like a crack in a sidewalk

stop.  And I’d carry that want for the rest of my life,

eyes peeled open, mouth agape, the world

piled around me with its visible seams:  cheap curtains,

cupboard doors, cut bread on a plate, my husband

appearing in the kitchen on his two strong legs

to see what’s wrong, lifting my hand by the wrist

and I want to kiss him, to climb him,

to stuff him inside me and fill that space, poised

on the brink of opening opening opening

as my wrinkled fingers, pale and slippery,

remember themselves, and part.

Found In Volume , No.
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Dorianne Laux
About the Author

Dorianne Laux's books include The Book of Men (W. W. Norton & Co, 2012); Facts About the Moon (2005), which was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Smoke (BOA Editions, 2000); What We Carry (1994), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Awake (1990), which was nominated for the San Francisco Bay Area Book Critics Award for Poetry.