Nose Job

I had you carved away.
I scoured my face clean.
Knocked out, they drilled
chiseled, reshaped, hacked
out the baby fat,
scooped away
the little
hump of bone.
Gone was my face’s
last clarion
of our connection.
I spent days doped thick,
script-printed bottles
orange and white
postured on the nightstand.
Capsules, gel. Tablets, chalk.
I slipped into
vivid, hot-skinned,
painkiller dreams
of a man who looked like you
but wasn’t,
who disappeared and dissolved
behind corners, who squinted at me,
who forgot my name.
I dreamt of forgetting you.
Years later
I look in the mirror
at healed skin,
and still taste blood
dripping down the back of my throat,
feel the ugly,
gorgeous rush
of breaking down,
of becoming
bloody, bruised,
brown, yellow,
and without



The air was fragile, stiff
under the naked fluorescent light
wincing in your blue room. You were frozen,
pretending to lounge.
It was the first time I’d seen you since
your whispered announcement.
Our mother was somewhere choking
on her tears. I was choking
on the how did I not?
For years we had fought, laughed
under the same crumbling shingles,
leaking ceilings. Festered
in the same moldering air,
stared out of the same cracked glass,
gauzy curtains, and wished
ourselves away.
So many nights I lay tangled
in threadbare sheets
while you were on the other side
of a thin wall crying, praying, breaking,
and I slept fitfully,
but slept through it, still.
How did I not
until this moment
realize love can be a broken mirror
you have to throw out
before you can say I see you,
I see?