we took turns with the madwoman attic
& sewed birds together
to make angels. i have nothing but
the process of cell divison.
god's pocket knife he used
to section & core us like apples.
one self with her face made of mirrors
& another who walks in sneakers
all through the night. i want to know
how many of myself i can keep.
bird cages for my hands. feeding them
fish food & gold shavings. delicate balance
between myself & a certain version.
admitting to a friend i sometimes see
men who aren't there. some of them
are clones & others are hat men.
tall as the ceiling--their hats
grazing light fixtures. once, a chandelier
grew from both of our tongues.
miniature guests gathered beneath.
i am always inviting people into my body.
it is compulsive. i meet someone & i think
"i would make a good living room."
the tv is on in the background.
sitting the clone in front to occupy them.
i used to think i would give a clone
all the worst of my life to complete.
instead, i find myself treating her/him
as a child. i brush my clone's hair.
bring bowls of cherries to their feet.
tell them they are beautiful. don't we all
want to hear we are a replica?
nothing original to our suffering,
just a new pair of shoes & a new
parking lot & a new pair of glasses.
i tell her she needs to clear out.
there are inspectors coming
to ensure i have remained whole.
i stuff my clone in the hamper.
tell her to breathe through her nose.
she becomes briefly a ball of socks.
the inspectors have teeth for eyes.
one molar each socket. i tell them
nothing at all. my body is
a highway. coming & going.
they do not find her. i lie & say
"we are safe" even though she knows
we are not & never. she crawls out
on all fours. i stroke her head
until i am just petting myself.