My fingernail, your pancreas,

your palm, starving tribes in the Sudan.

My esophagus, Joan of Arc’s enflamed hair.


Your mother’s lungs, La Brea.

Your neck, a lighthouse’s spiral staircase,


my eyes, a beacon over turbulent waters.

Your conscience, below the surface;

my fingers, holding it there.


My heart valves, the locks along the Erie Canal,

reining things in, keeping things from getting out of hand.

My lungs, an orchard ripe for plucking,

my genitals, coals from the bottom of the fire,

my uterus, invasive, like mint, getting its fingers everywhere.


My disappointment: the iceberg, a lightning strike, a barbed hook. A super nova.

Yours: the Titanic, the Gulf oil spill,

a family of beached whales. No—a black hole.


by Emily Hockaday



Emily Hockaday’s first chapbook, Starting A Life, was published in June 2012 with Finishing Line Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The North American Review, Newtown Literary, Pear Noir!, The West Wind Review, Plainspoke, and others. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU and has served as a judge for NEA’s poetry out loud program.

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