i go to a butcher
to buy my heart. he sits 
at a card table with his pigs
talking to them 
as if they're brothers.
come to learn they are in fact 
brothers. my elbows have been
growing barnacles
& briars. i lean to much
on anything & everything i can find.
going out to the fields
i see the butcher as he burries 
the cow bones & the pig bones
& the chicken bones 
so they don't haunt him.
it is too late for me. 
every few months i roast my heart
& have to find a new one.
i lived for years with
a plastic bag blowing around
in my chest. this morning i 
just want what is easy.
see my reflection in a jar
of pickled hooves. wonder if
i could peel my elbows off
like the skin of an orange.
i don't want to hinge
anymore. just want to lay flat
& talk to the animal shapes
in the clouds. the butcher 
is not my father but i am 
pretending he is. i want a man
to survey me & tell me
i look just like i'm supposed to.
sometimes i buy mason jars 
to put my anger in. hope they turn
to raspberry preserves.
instead, they reek like vinegar.
jitter on their shelves 
waiting to scream. i have not screamed 
in years. in the fields
all the bones are screaming.
i wonder if that is what it would take
for me to let go. all the meat
peeled back. just the raw bone
strewn about. tall grass 
wears ticks like necklaces.
says "hush, hush," to the bones.
the bones don't listen.
oh how i would love to be told what to do
& not listen. i rub new ointment
on my elbows. it's supposed to
make me smooth. i'm not even sure
i was meant to be soft.

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