The body has no eyes but countless
jags of proteins. Lymphatic seas and viscous red rivers
reroute themselves at night the way
the world dies off
and begins over fuller when I am
braiding a girl’s hair, my eyes down, her eyes, too,
and when we look up again, it’s another world, slightly off
from each one before
like the limping ballet of the grandfather
clock that loses
an hour over many weeks.
Those chestnut ground-clouds of pollen
like adolescence, sleepy and full,
like when I looked down to the brown fruits, spit-shined,
split and spiked under the arches of my feet
when I was daydreaming and not careful, like when
I looked up
my bathroom mirror noticed for the first time
my gums are not baby-pink, everything redder now
and angry, all of my lips fastened with one long sentence.
What has betrayed me, though,
less than my body,
its lips caught in the gears of a clock?
Mirande Bissell is a teacher and poet who lives in Ellicott City, Maryland. Her first book of poems, Stalin at the Opera, was the winner of the 2020 Ghost Peach Press Prize.