Good Health by Anna B. Sutton

Bear Creek, NC
The muscles in my lower back
have trained themselves to spasm
around a large cluster of nerves, bundled
like a horse’s tail at the base of my spine.
There are cysts—small sacks of fluid
that fill and deflate at random—scattered
across my body: on my ankle, my wrist,
my neck, inside my breasts, dotting the outside
of my ovaries like continents seen from space.
My legs are heavy with the husks of dead veins.
A blood vessel has burst on the bottom of my foot.
Every so often, my brain tells my heart that it’s dying,
and my heart believes—follicles rise along my arms,
my lungs stutter, my stomach turns cold. But still,
here we are standing at the end of a rotting dock,
the dog’s leash slack in my right hand, your fingers
laced into my left. Here, we are breathing in
the thick marsh, the only light blinking distant
from nearby windows. We’ll sleep there tonight—
all I’ll know of my body, its proximity to yours.
Anna B. Sutton is a poet from Nashville, TN. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Third Coast, Southeast Review, Quarterly West, DIAGRAM, Brevity, The Collagist, and other journals. She is the co-founder of The Porch Writers’ Collective in Nashville, web editor at One Pause Poetry, poetry editor at Dialogist, a nonfiction reader at Gigantic Sequins, and a publisher in North Carolina. In 2013, she received her MFA from UNC Wilmington and a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center.