I was a one-woman leadership conference.
I couldn't stop touching myself
where they put the staples.
On the way out, surgery gave me a kit
and said don't lose this kit.
Radio signal skin, zipper below zipper.
If I pulled down my pants in the back
of the courthouse, nobody
would look away. Thank you,
foam cups of beef broth, pulverized lens
of grape gelatin. My Hello Kitty purse
stuffed with spare gauze.
Eight years in an elementary school
named after a sheepdog
was enough to persuade
even the mild anemone to seek justice.
I was like a reverse coffee
stain. I was the pair of fluorescent pink
panties tangled in an equally belligerent
azalea bush. Old cats, new
cats, everything with whiskers loved
my stale and my pale.
I played the morphine clicker with
expertise. I played
nurse, then God. I made my zipper
into a mad celestial stair.
Mary Biddinger's most recent book is O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, 2012). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Bat City Review, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, Crab Orchard Review, Forklift, Ohio, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Redivider, and Quarterly West, among others. She teaches literature and poetry writing at The University of Akron, where she edits Barn Owl Review, the Akron Series in Poetry, and the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics.