Portacath

& light & wind
rush the clinic doors.

The waiting room,

the signature line
I cross catty-corner

the television. Hey, you.

The anatomized belly
of a manatee calf

bared above the caption

for clear skies.
Versicolor lights.

Hey, you

share a name
with that drug lord.

The nurse’s thumbs

rend Guzmans of the Patient
& Insurance forms.

Soda bottles spill

from incision
to off-screen floor.

Now inhale, now exhale,

now hold my sea scum,
tempest-tossed.

Show me, show me. Here

I have the plastic
heart to charm you.

 

Caretaker

She sounds out olive, sticks
her mules into mole hills
dotting vacant lots. Songs
tremble the dirt without
reaching her hum, the naked
creatures curled in tunnels
clogged by insecticide.

Stressed, the rat bites
the nearest rat, regardless
of guilt or shame or proof,
teeth settled by bone,
the satisfaction pushing
a button bestows. Sun
released into burrow, cracks

of her fingernails rouged.
Let her pull the lever
all the way down, spring
tense as a need. The spout
gasps, the bottle less itself
with every squeeze, like light
gathers into a single stream,
fills her footprints.

Volume  11.2 - December 2018

Jessica Guzman Alderman's work appears or is forthcoming in Shenandoah, jubilat, The Greensboro Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. A doctoral candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers, she reads for Split Lip Magazine