Of necessity, I have learned to navigate the junkyard of my own viscera.
The butcher arranges my bones, desires the hairs on a slabbed kneecap.
The body is another kind of evening under infrared lights. She segments
my belly: I am so skinny no skin can hurt me. I am the impression
of wind through the fur of a maimed gazelle. The butcher she tends to my gashes
to make them bloodless, my neck bone a dressage she will hold and make proper again.
To be sexless finally, to be meat, she places a lemon between my lips,
freshens them into a pucker to kiss like the beak of a parrot fish. A man
from the village peers into the shop eager to touch me between parchment,
a man who laid me down in faux down to deliver me my kingdom of filth
and hunger. My butcher she flattens my belly, to be sliced is to be seen importantly,
bright tower in a failed city. She did this sipping iced coffee through a straw, a Baltic song
stopped in her head. My thigh’s modern coldness on the counter. You will come to know this was love.
50 The Paris-American
Natalie Eilbert's work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Colorado Review, Spinning Jenny, Bat City Review, La Petite Zine, Copper Nickel, The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, Barn Owl Review, and elsewhere. She was named a finalist in YesYes Book's Inaugural Chapbook Competition for her manuscript, Swan Feast. She is a founding editor of The Atlas Review (www.theatlasreview.com).