All Flesh, Toti O’Brien

Mark Terry, “Mood Goddess,” Sacred Vessel Series, 32 x 16 x 8,
wood-fired stoneware, Noble Hill Anagama




Your palm against my breast
and this sense of emptiness
a deflated balloon
dying out in a corner.
You ask me to press down.
Ribs clink against my spine.
My substance is failing me.
Why is the place where my stomach
was, just a cavity? A crater
marked by ripples of sand?
As you push me away
appalled by the fraud
I have become, I gather
this minutia of mine
this satchel of bones
folding over themselves
this barrenness gone awry.

Later on, in the coziness
of my bedroom
I make love to the girl.
She is young, fresh and strong.
She initiates, I follow.
But her nipples stretch
like soft rubber
taper down, disappear.
All flesh, not only mine
has grown inconsistent.
The world is an aquarium.
We are jellyfish stranded
on a lonely beach
losing color.

Toti O’Brien

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