by Ryan Bollenbach
after Carl Phillips

Blue as if my liver questioning,
question as reckon: how my grandmother’s vein bisects her thigh —
the needle for the leg; the glass for doctor’s blindness
to the seeping...So even in God’s clots and clenching,
she is in a waiting room sitting on never
once replaced chairs. I once dreamt,
escaping my diseased body in reverse, body sucking
my wings—silk to skin in water—a curfew—body flailing
in the river recognizable, like green kelp,
from my memory, or hers, her perfume and voice imitating    

some train track running to a deep coal mine.
Or, Ella Fitzgerald’s throat on the tin radio,
punching syllabants pulsing the lever of the cart, perfect
match to the snares’ trebled groove (is it troubled?)
stuttering like the miner’s tired arms
and her continuous admission (love
this song, forget what it’s called)

                                  If only
I was architect or diver—alchemist,
diviner—I could better sift for jewels or the sword
slipping between her bouldered brain, her compunction,
or, perhaps, recognize the blinding blue of the kind
of blue brothers who rip themselves away
from her, kin, not as bond, but as if bonds can be made in reverse.
Still, I am not sure what fact is

conjecture…A teacher once told me to land a plane
whenever there is still a place to land
a plane—how her eyes seem not to know this:
blue sky or runway—like retracing
the scene behind your grandfather’s blue eyes,
Kyle. I hope you got to tell him you love him
even if he heard you as friend, not child,
hoping I am not mistaking her for him
as pain echoes uneven from the uneven rocks.
If this a mistake, is this a mistake every blue must make?

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