Dennis Hinrichsen

                                              Meat | Amy Maloof

                                              Meat | Amy Maloof

Eros and Knife


Where does the soul flee when the body,
                        under the knife,
            is spread-eagled and the belly punctured

and paralysis forms its dream of dying
                        on a stream
            of fentanyl?

All of it shut down. The brain
            of nothingness and

meat. Just the grand galloping
                        of time, and
            the will

of God. The body slotted face up
                        as if between two wings
            so as it is carried

it is viewed by Heaven.         
                        Once a poet asked,
            which do you prefer

time or lightning? Something in me
                        answered, both.
But that was way back—in utero—

back before the struts were planed
            the canvas stretched

and the light wood/bird wood
                        tethered in.
            Back before

I was a boy. I dreamed the soul
                        was a stone
            in my father’s heart.

I dreamed of my mother         
                        as weather.
            I fell out as immaculate

as a fox . . . all wrong.
                        In Da Vinci’s drawing
            it’s clear—God

told my father to build a fetus
                        in his head
            and he did, the idea unspooling

from brain to spine to cock
                        to flood
            the milky substance in.

An anatomy of lightning.
                        The egg,
            positive streamer to the strike.

And then that moment, manic
            birth of a soul. My mother

nursing a chain-link calculus
                        of blood and time.
            I think now

my cancer owns a little
                        of that math.
            How it births and births.

Roils, burns . . .
                        Fired on what?
            Still firing,

so I shine and dazzle,
            in a Da Vinci glaze, surface

cut with mineral, rust,
                        to push
            the portrait mortal.

After surgery, waking
                        will be
            a helicoptering in.

The cancer lasered free, bagged,
            like a carnival toy

through a hole in my gut
                        while somewhere
            out in the yet-to-be

I’ll push into daylight. The
            code, new eros—

an old man screwing
                        I know, but
             that’s what I do, am driven

to do—or gazing at clouds,
            through rain.

Scooping up handfuls
                        of graupel
            just to feel the tiny blades

in the wings of a snowflake
            the soul, the beautiful

soul—speck and photon,
            shoots its cold light over everything.


                        that day he smelled like dead
bird all afternoon,

living sin, reds and purples staining
the open bleeding nest

as if unmixed,
straight from the tube.

Insert chipped blade of jack-knife

            Insert feel of the flesh
how he cuts

even himself.
Wound boy. Boy pharaoh. Cloud-bank

like a femur,

The hurtsfrom everyone, from no one
so many

they were driveway stones embedded in the lung.
His breath:

a sobbing flute noise.
Teary sips of vengeance.

Amulet: Zippo lighter, wrist-
rocket, club.

Amulet: fire.
Silence like a hanging garden in a field of junk.

If a hobo, then a train.
If a train, then grand pitted wheel of moon,

whip of stars.
Punctured twilight.

The wind in his hands becoming a horse in the trees.
Pleasure like a fever driven.

Grass and semen.
Mud and semen.

Tree bark, bug juice, blood.
The body already an unredeemable rust,

untouchable as a christ.
Skin thing and poking bone . . .


                        and then the hauling in,
the gripping down [mother flop stink]

[rank armpit perfume] [a runnel of snot]:
cool glass thermometer pinched

at broken tooth, metal tip
pressed by tongue [the mercury heating] . . .

so many poisons held so close to the throat.



Dennis Hinrichsen’s most recent works are Skin Music, co-winner of the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press, and Electrocution, A Partial History, winner of the Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Prize from Map Literary: A Journal of Contemporary Writing and Art. New work of his can be found online at The Adroit Journal, Fogged Clarity, Memorious, the museum of americana, Radar, and Best of the Net 2014.