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Prairie Schooner 79.4 (2005) 99-104
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Disclaimer, and: Saint Nobody, and: Scar
If you are reading this it is due to an error, an oversight, or some otherwise unprecedented act on the part of the Management. blame it on the Moon Do not be alarmed if you hear a voice you are not accustomed to, screams or if mention is made of subjects embarrassing nipples out of your ordinary purview, "those stubborn bloodstains" or if unfamiliar territory is mapped intricately and with candor. that Moon, she brings – Comfort yourself with the fact that if not blood, then at least – you will soon be returned to your regularly scheduled programming, "sorry, sorry, sorry" with the requisite words from Our Sponsor. [End Page 99] Unless, of course, you prefer To follow me away to the roof hair curled to frame the face to watch the white disk turn two-thirds Lillian Gish on film, 1915 mottled sepia, then charcoal, then black, then shyly bare her sharp white face entire.
1After great snow, the sun stings my window,
mad god who frightened infant Blake.
Random aches – first sign, no doubt, of some rare
terminal disease – make me wish I had no body
I ain't got nobody
Lately the pain is sharpest where my wings would be.
Some days I'm like the Nobody
in Goodnight Moon:
Goodnight mush [End Page 100]
Others, I'm Nobomommy to Blake's Nobodaddy –
that raggedy god always spouting No – No – No –
sporting the holy fool's cap and bells.
Do you believe life is supposed to be less difficult than it is?
Once I believed, but now my eyes are open.
What now do you believe?
Life is difficult, because it is difficult.
Do you really believe life is what it is?
It's difficult to say.
Take and eat, this is my body
We eat until no body is left.
A mother is her own body feeding, bleeding
When somethin' is wrong with my baby
Somethin' is wrong with me
The baby is wrong – the wrong baby – who?
Nobaby. No, Baby. [End Page 101]
3She chose you, the midwife told us.
But the choice was ours.
I have to know, I'd terminate – I couldn't handle it.
I could've had the test, we could've known,
but we chose ignorance, had faith.
These children are God's special angels.
That's wrong, as wrong as Luther was
to call an idiot farm boy changeling,
order him drowned. The local prince refused.
Luther bade the people pray to be delivered
from this devil, who died within the year.
4The word retarded, tossed from a dear friend's mouth,
feels sharp as swords or stones. I am no saint.
I don't know how you do it.
How? I don't.
Ah, vestigial angel-parts ache to emerge.
It is better to be Nobody, white
figure in a cold upstairs window,
than the bearer of an errant womb.
persona non grata, errata [End Page 102]
Nobody. Nobody here but us –
ScarHow delicately it runs down
your sternum, this seam paler
than your pale skin, sign
that something within has
been repaired and healed over.
After they cut you open and sewed
you back together, I longed to hold you
but could only stroke your head,
cradle your hand. Your eyelids fluttered,
your face reddened in a scream silenced
by the tube pressed against your vocal cords.
"She's crying," the nurse told us. Your voice,
softer than most infants' to begin with,
was lost until you coughed up the tube
and they had to take it out, breaking
post-op protocol. I must be heard,
and so you were, returning from
the anesthetic haze, dazed by pain
and morphine for the pain. Next morning,
the woman who shuffles in to take your x...