Linda Taylor


Digging under my skin
for the black flesh running shapeless
over the edge like milk, the knife
took this dark place above

the top of my thigh
like a spot from a potato.
Cells so transformed define us

as something—something—else:
Fish that eat each other’s fins. Pruning
a weed—taping a vine so it won’t grow.

What must be lost to preserve from death?
Some people refuse—the woman
who wouldn’t let them cut out
her tongue. I was not the one

who had nightmares—sitting in the dark
to make the frightened writing I am
unwilling to take into the light.

To look into the depth of dream
where as in old age or snow, you forget
the names of things, with nothing

more to tell you but your shape, scarred
as rock, desert seeps. A range of mountains
like the moles down one side of my body,
which occasionally erupt, black

and unruly from within. From the air, they
are dark and wrinkled, round fields that creep
up valleys, tremble to their edge:

This Boeing 757 can land by itself down
among the mountains’ shapes, in amid these
holes and the dead, volcanic scars.