Aurora Borealis

By Jessica Taylor

Dedicated to B. Snow


I could look at this pylorus

all day with you. Pale

and ruffled, it sweetly pulsates

so slowly. A small lake

of verdant bile slides

shallowly and like the tide

across its slight lip.


I love

this peaceful moment

in this sterile space.

It is you and I alone

with the skinny tunnel

of the endoscope. It is

like standing in the midnight sky

and there is the

aurora borealis.

Red Ribbon, Blue String

By Jessica Taylor



At the end of spring, I am pulled

like a long pink resistant worm

from a cool, dark tunnel.

Transplanted from gun shy and tree lined

California into the humid desert

of Texas. I feel like a red headed turkey vulture

clumsily lumbering in a crowd

of ornery, sugar mad grackles.


It is so hot here, I am forced

to ride my chestnut horse before

the sun has had enough time to inflame

and boil the water particles hanging about

so merrily in the air. In silence

I ride the horse early. I wander about

the freezing new hospital in which I find myself

day in and day out. I ride the horse.

I wander more

constantly lost and perplexed

between the corridors

of OB/GYN and radiology. I ride again.


And I wonder about the rest of my life.



I think I must be hoping for a friend.

Because I meet you in summer

over a gaping open chest,

while looking down at a heart stuffed

with red ribbons and blue string.

You sew one circle to the next

with elegance and calm.

I meet you during

the switching of organs

from one tired body to the next

naively hopeful one. We bring

sets of lungs snug in nests of ice

from those who no longer

make the heat to warm them.


This is the summer

in which I work madly

on my hamstrings, obsessed with

shaping them into a retracted bow string.

Perhaps this is because

I have heard that the legs

will carry you forward.

I stomp up flights of stairs

until my thighs vibrate.

I sit into utkatasana

until my hips sting.

And I wonder about the rest of my life.




After we have neatly packaged

and tucked away newly sewn

happy arteries; after the metal

hearts have been snapped into place

and we have carefully but firmly sealed

sternums and ribs; then I come alive

in your soft hands.

Long after our patients drift to sleep,

rocked gently by their ventilators and

lulled by liquid sedation,

the hospital emits spaceship hums

and soft groans which I hope

are enough to cover my own.

Tucked momentarily into your

long curves, even your soft snores

quicken my heart. I beg the seconds

to slow, the sun to extend its journey

on the other side of the earth.

After our bodies finally click together,

we whisper through the few

lingering moments of the left over night,

and I do not wonder about the rest of my life.



For a time, my life glows again

and everything is illuminated.

The sickness that surrounds us

becomes tolerable. As we fly

to the gardens of organs that we

pick and collect, the

constant threat of rejection is

less sinister. But the summer drains

and slows. You return to your house.

The red horse and I begin again

to ride. The foreign words I have learned

to call you are slowly forgotten

from my tongue.

Istanbul, Ankara become places

I will again never go.

In my own bed again,

I wonder about the rest of my life.









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