CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Two Poems
Betsy Andrews


Hand Bourne

Down your river of arm, a torrent. Blood, bone
            muscle, skin, nerve, nail,
                        tendon, marrow, cartilage,
ligament, fate.
                                   This is a cloudburst’s sudden phalanx,
            inches’ sentiment and sweat.
Upbody a wingbarb has licked at the spine.
                        At 22 mph the bed load rolls grabs.
With antediluvian turbulence
                        we’ve inherited from the shrew,
the hand makes a thousand gestures.
                        This one unspools at the banks.
Boat, half-moon, pyramid, pea, table, trapeze, grapple, gun.
                                             Into the delta, then farther out,
                                                                   landmarks disappear.
50 waves of tendon per second,
                                  all the kings’ men drowned.
                        Though by the flood of the faithed to the Good Book
         we’re dykes and damned if we do,
trillion gallons of water downriver
         this morning corkscrew. The bulk of a body,
I’ll take it,
                little rubber tube of myself
riding the beast of the flood.








Skinned

“And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at the gate, full of sores …”
—Luke 16:20



climbed windward walls of the city
checked myself into the skin-books

a swelling a scab a shiny spot
pothook    pool on this stretch of horn whirling

you sprout    you
sprout at my spine    sunder the covers

drop foot     claw hand     mask face    rasp
balls if I had them unbound     my

coolest parts crackle in fire
seeping through fallen leaves about touch

self-inscribed big-wind-boil
affliction deeper than flesh

arranged in bundles like cigarettes in
cellophane    see my silted blood run

with wanting you     double
platelet adhesiveness of the diseased

armadillo     tattered barrel of bands
snout-deep in hospital waste

armored articulate berry
juicing segments of self     a fist

orange     and glove
case of the bitter leather

times there were we stood in the ground
“dead unto”    handfuls of dust

our lesions our lessons
rotted weave of face the waste

in troubled waters     soul
a growling fish flayed

flee from me as from a lion
skin-built     filthy     sexed

fruit     swinging my crown from thorns
meat of my soles rotting holes

eyebrow-fallen     punished and picked
to petal in this vessel of skin     dog-tongued

seacoasted    yellow-crossed     clapper-and-belled
morning from the lazar house

hear it:  you are forewarned
love,    this is my pealing