Paracosm With Biomedical Material

Leslie Adrienne Miller


In my paracosm the mother has died

and heaven is closed until further notice.

She’s going to sit in that chair she hated

and tell us what to do forever;

and whoever left the room that night

stepped on my hip as she went.

The murmur of my father and sister

in the other room was simply cover,

and the last hospice nurse in her sweet

flannels took off her gloves and left

with the body. She’s the one

they send at the end, knowing

as she does, which parts of the body

light out first, and when exactly

the rattle can be expected in a throat.

I wanted more from her than I got,

but I’d already upset the clan

with a request to keep the titanium

shoulder my mother prized

for its ridiculous sum. I’m the one

who always saved her sharpest shards,

but the day will come for me too

when I don’t know how to keep

the borrowed parts in play.

Wounded children, supposedly, make

these paracosms up, people them,

and run them on the battery

of whatever’s left when hope

goes by on the gurney. A father

and his son came themselves at 3 am

to take her, and it was then I got specific:

take her apart before the burn, save

that gleaming ball and hinge for me.

I heard my brother in law say the word

weirdo, but not without affection.

Whatever scrap the artist needs

for the haunch of that mighty horse

in the village square, my mother’s

fancy shoulder will be the perfect fit,

standing against rust and acid rain,

straight line wind and the burning milk

dropped by every stinking bird.