This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Genevieve Pfeiffer, is from Woman Drinking Absinthe by Katherine E. Young, released by Alan Squire Publishing in 2020.
First the doctors peel my flesh,
expose the bone, saw it smooth.
Working in layers, they mold muscle,
snug up tissue to cushion the stump,
snip skin in overlapping flaps
exactly the way you’d wrap a present,
pleating sudden ridges and angles.
And then, prosthesis: liner, socket,
foot. I’ll walk, all right: you’ll notice
nothing amiss, unless you’re watching
in the evening hour, when shapes
branch off in doorways, two by two—
you’ll see me stumble on the side
he always took, while in the houses
doors bang shut, lights flick on.
Katherine E. Young is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Woman Drinking Absinthe, Day of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist), and two chapbooks. She is the editor of Written in Arlington and curator of Spoken in Arlington. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, Subtropics, and many others. She is the translator of Look at Him by Anna Starobinets, Farewell, Aylis and Stone Dreams by Azerbaijani political prisoner Akram Aylisli, and two poetry collections by Inna Kabysh. From 2016-2018, she served as the inaugural poet laureate for Arlington, Virginia.
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