A Woman Builds a Body, Post-Tsunami – Kim Clark

A Woman Builds a Body, Post-Tsunami

Night after night
sleep comes
to the woman
although even breathing
has become a danger
and the water
[oh, the water!] collected today
may be safer than tomorrow’s.

Lonely in sleep
[amidst the crowd]
this woman’s hands build a body
from borrowed blankets.
Fingers [vellum-dry, urgency lost]
shape the curve
of a shoulder from a pillow,
[a hollow for her cheek]
sheet into smooth
torso, wedge apart the lower reaches
[quilting unstitched],
the legs less rigid, [fold, unfold]
to rest her knee between
synthetic thighs.

Sleep [stealthy] leaves
the makeshift bed, the woman
  [a subduction].
The dismembered body
[no structural integrity]
still damp and warm with her breath
[scant heat and tears]
becomes a midden torso
of digital tectonic grief
[where is the heart?]:
sinister particles in a young girl’s hair
broken spokes of a bicycle wheel
fishboat in the road.

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