Wound Care

Not even the Mexican saints can see
how you unbutton your shirt tonight
to show me the ghost of a zipper
the sawbones left, taking back
their staples. All your summer
the taking out, sherd by sherd,
a kind of dig, the slug he left you with,
the rent-a-cop gunning for his baby mama,
who caught you by mistake.
Pizza-parlor aprons they dropped
over you, all the tattoos coming
up roses that night, and then
your other blood, their luggage, the
forgiveness from those who once said
we don’t own you, you are dissed, you are not owned,
who didn’t say the wounded
somehow are easiest reclaimed,
the saints they brought you
collapsed into wooden dolls,
who can’t see, having been turned
to face the wall above the bed—
and like another kind of sniper
I’m above you lying down,
all our wearable ammunition unloaded
if not glittering still warm
when you say scar gonna fade quicker,
when you say shoot here.

Michael Tyrell teaches writing in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. He is the author of the poetry collections Phantom Laundry (UK: Backlash Press, 2017) and The Wanted (US: The National Poetry Review Press, 2012) and his poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Agni, The Best American Poetry 2015, Fogged Clarity, The New England Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (US: NYU Press, 2007).