Taylor Graham

Rookie (Pasadena, CA)

Before He Lays Himself To Sleep - Poem by Taylor Graham

he strips off shoes and socks and trousers,
shirt and undershorts and skin
and tosses them in the wash;
removes teeth and gums, and drops
them in solution. Oh, they'll come out
spotless in the morning. He peels off
his scalp and smooths it over its form,
combing out the dark hairs singly.
Then head to toe he unhooks ligaments
and tendons, unlaces muscles,
lays each in turn in its place;
unwinds the organs and hangs them
out to dry. The lungs, deflated,
he drapes at large; extracts windpipe
with its gathered daily tunes;
the tongue curled speechless
in a stainless box; the heart and brain
in parchment. Finally he unclasps
the numbered bones, polishing
metacarpals till they shine.
He lets out wishes, lies and memories
to hunt in the dark of the moon.
And then he lays himself to sleep
between clean sheets,
and dreams empty and unadorned
through this night that's never
been before.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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