My eyes are drawn to where
the arm should be.
Extending from his shoulder
is a bus seat,
a shimmer of shop window,
a third of a woman.
I don’t want to look,
even less think,
but I can envision the car smash-up,
the mangled metal,
or the sudden shark attack,
the chainsaw mishap,
or the babe in the crib,
paying through the body
for some now-banned wonder drug.
I stare so hard,
I’m part of it
Like this man needs,
another car idling in the background,
a second great white,
a back-up sharp tool
in case the first one didn’t cut it,
another round of wonder.
he departs my line of sight,
is replaced by another man
who has two arms
for no good reason.
Scott of the Uterus
The ultrasound was just a blur to me.
The baby reminded me of Scott of
the Antarctic battling a blizzard
just to stay in place.
Wind swirled snow around what the doctor
claimed to be a head, a backbone.
My wife sat back like some unknown country
willing itself to be explored
The doctor didn’t let on that something
was already marking out the territory.
He just nodded his head, spoke
a dispassionate “Looks healthy.”
Doesn’t he know Scott never did return?
There’s a smugness to doctors,
like they know they’re not at risk,
slump back in their white coats,
comfy and cozy as suburbanites
reading the morning paper.
“It says here, the only trace they found
were some empty cans, a diary.”
Then they sip more coffee, mutter,
It’s December when contractions
put your insides on red alert.
Not only have we seen the one thought lost
but they’re winging their way home.
We speed to the hospital hoping that -
the rescue dogs don’t bite, the airlift doesn’t crash,
they haven’t discovered the wrong guy.
The birth goes smoothly so it stays out
of the history books.
It’s a boy and we call it Scott.
The man has nothing but maps in his head.
So much for eyes.
That’s the Soviet Union before the breakup
looking back at you.
It’s a wonder he can dress himself.
Luckily, his shirt reminds him of Asia,
his jeans are South America
but why aren’t the countries marked?
And when his brain spotlights Peru,
he whistles Andes pipe tunes.
When it’s Switzerland, he yodels.
He has a job… well maps must work.
He would have been a cartographer
but what could fingers do
that his head has not already?
Instead, it’s tending bar at Danny’s
and somehow he gets the mixes right.
Much better than countries do at least.
He’s no clichéd sympathizer though.
He tells the harried husband to invade.
The Maginot line is weak.
A hooker on a stool fixes her lipstick.
It’s the British Empire all over again,
plastering the globe in pink.
He was even married once.
Pretty she was like Europe with the countries colored.
And her body was that other kind of map…
relief… with mountains circled, plains marked clearly,
forests green as hands that only know the world in outline.
He made love tentatively, carefully,
like he was making the world safe for geography.
John Grey is an Australian born poet recently published in Paterson Literary Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift, and with work upcoming in New Plains Review, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.