Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Apology to the Body

Sorry for mercury strewn in veins of fish,
for traces of carbon monoxide loose in the air,
for radiation that circles and enters the aura.

Sorry for deliberate puffs and sips
late in the night, for an empty stomach
burning with coffee grounds,

for words of magma, thoughts rough as tufa
scratching the indivisible cells, fragile nerves,
divisions of labor and function,

for scraping skin until it bled, garnet
scars in constellation form, for chemicals
bathing in a pool of genetics, under viral stars.

I’m looking to cleanse regret. I want to give
you a balm for lesions, give you evening
primrose, milk thistle, turmeric, borage,

feet moving toward a language
of trees, hands deciphering sediment, steady
rhythm back in the pulse, the breathing you knew

before you were born. Believe me that we began
together and I will mend each sheath of myelin,
reverse the dark that grows behind my eyes.

Credit


Copyright © 2018 Lory Bedikian. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

Author


Lory Bedikian

Lory Bedikian is the author of The Book of Lamenting (Anhinga Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. She teaches poetry workshops in Los Angeles.

Date Published: 2018-09-17

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/apology-body