DB HomePatrick Donnelly


My body is finally useful.
Into the green kitchen bucket
with the bitter carrot tops,
collard ribs, dry pulp
from the juicer, burned heels,
draincatcher leavings, useless
skins of things or their stringy hearts,
now I add my nail clippings and clumps
of hair that catch in the brush.
This is the way my mind chooses
to learn a hard thing, gently,
but my body rushes way ahead
to the black box in the yard
with the mail-order worms, embracing
the ailanthus trash, the winter-slimed
impatiens. It's lost interest
in the distinction between
me and not me,
thrown open the borders
to people I've been too shy
to even say hello to:
fungus rings germinate
in all my dark, moist places,
a rash decorates my white torso
like pink point de Venise
blooming on a lichenous log,
my tongue wears a white scum
and a sour, clabbered smell.
Little bears nose through my guts
for soft grubs, and Destroying Angel
lifts its wild orchid umbrella
where my heart used to be.
In hardest winter, snow never settles
where I lie, because homely rot--
the common chemistry of things coming apart--
gives off a friendly, social
warmth, almost as if finally
I am still alive.