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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,
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.

Saint Nobody


After 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
at all
     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 comb
   Goodnight brush
   Goodnight Nobody
   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.


Nobody's Catechism:

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.

Nobody's Communion:

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]


She 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.


The 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.

Nobody's Proverb:

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]
Who's there?
Nobody. Nobody here but us –


How 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...


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pp. 99-104
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