Alice Friman

The Body 101: Circulation

One-hundred thousand miles
of blood vessels run through
the human body.
Enough to ride
a rope halfway to the moon
but not enough to get you back,
leaving you flapping in airless
space shrieking toward Mercury
where all the soap, water, and washing
behind your ears won’t save you.

Better to keep that tangle of highway
under the skin where it belongs,
skidding corners, slithering about.
Delivering, picking up.

I know a woman who struggled
to keep all her stuff inside. Arteries,
veins, capillaries wanting out, straining
to ride the aorta’s promise of gush and go—
to unroll like a spool of wire
or the potted ivy seeking a season
for itself, lassoing the carved legs of
the end table, yanking it out of the way.

After she left—wearing her insides
on the outside—you had to pity
the husband. What did he know?
Twenty years and all he did was
apply pressure, trying to keep her in
where she belonged—all wrapped up,
tight as a tourniquet.

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