Portrait with Inconclusive Lab Results

Portrait with Inconclusive Lab Results

Portrait with Inconclusive Lab Results 1080 1350 CD Eskilson

I name it with an image:
an orchard where the black plums
tilt and shake, shudder
aubades to their boughs, then fall.

I wait below to catch what drops,
unwelt the maim of skin. I siphon
violence from the flesh and tongue
the sweetblood for a name. Tongue

the ulcer in my cheek, taste the sour memory
my stomach. Trace the lineage of this disease.

I’d like to think there’s something solid
in the sign we mark a virus with; that the
garbled printout and the graphs can grant
full bones to the ghost. Give an enemy to lash.

My doctor offers dim fluorescent, the salt flat
of linoleum. A voice reserved for things with fur.
I sit and stall into my chest, the grip of apparition.

Continue the pill regimen, wince
and house their plummet. Wait and see,
stay haunted. My mouth fills with a half-light,
a wreck escaping words. There’s ecstasy

in this undoing—not the definition’s joy but
inundation, overwhelming. A body spirited away.

I can’t stay the gravity against this fruit,
how flesh splits from the stone. Reaching up,
the juice glints violet through my hand, a sigil I can take.

Header photograph © Liz Baronofsky.

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