Accept the window
that gives you glass, the dawn
that gives you the maple branch
with a single bud, meadowlarks
singing where you can’t see them.
Keep your black nightgown on,
more night than gown.
Wolves in the wallpaper.
Read an article about a man
who coughed blood. If you don’t learn
who lives next door to you, you
can leave the curtains open
all the time. Only at certain times
can a body be sexual. The doe
that meets your gaze in the meadow
isn’t sexual. When surgeons split
the coughing man’s chest with a saw
and then his lung with a scalpel,
his body wasn’t sexual.
At night the moon pulls
leaf buds out of the branch with silver
instruments. If you don’t learn
how many bodies the doctor
places his fingers into
in a single day, yours will always
be the only. Inside
the coughing man’s lung the surgeons
found a fir tree. The dark interior
of a lung or a leaf bud, imagined
long enough, becomes a wilderness.
Your mind can do this
in the morning when you don’t have
a body. Wilderness isn’t paradise.

Copyright © 2015 by Cecily Parks. “Morning Instructions for the Doctor’s Wife” originally appeared in O’Nights (Alice James Books, 2015). Used with permission of the author.