The Body’s Instinct is to Bloom by Sandy Longhorn

So, this is what it means
                        to conquer the fire of fever,
to go days, weeks,
            & now months
                                    without a sizzle
behind the tongue,
                        beneath the skin,
drizzles of sweat no longer making rivulets
            along the throat’s curve.

The body tamed is health.

                        I must forgive the whitecoats
                                    for how they forced
my hands to loose their hold
            on the pyrite & the flint.

I had grown so used to trafficking in ash.

The whitecoats saved the root of me,
            enough healthy flesh
                                    kept hidden
                        from the flames
to offer this rebirth,
            though I often fought their tugs,
                                    their scrapes,
their marriage
                        of brutal antiseptics
                                                to this fiery pit.

Compliant now
            under their smooth-fingered grazing,
                        I allow them to lift,
pinch, & shift newly muscled limbs,

to persuade the new growth
                        forming on the budding branches.



Sandy Longhorn is the author of The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths and Blood Almanac. She teaches at Pulaski Technical College, where she directs the Big Rock Reading Series, and for the low-residency MFA program at the University of Arkansas Monticello. In addition, she co-edits the online journal, Heron Tree.