has come to visit, dragging its little wheeled cart
of sharp-eyed needles, blanched bandages behind.
The Wound parks its load by an appalled sofa,
clambers awkward up the tea table’s shrinking
legs. Squats close by the sugar bowl, smack
in the center of the tray. Fine bone china cups
tremble in their saucers. Unattended sweetcakes
flinch away. The Wound, the color of liver, rolls
over to reveal its split belly. All available light
sucks toward that begging heart. Which pulses
like lips about to stutter. In the airless air, a quiver,
a thumping murmur: within the bone cages hung
about the parlor, each attending heart begins
to stammer, beat for beat a match to the Wound’s.
Teatime worries into muted dusk. The guests, too,
mute. The locked cart of bandages and balm hums.
Hums and glows. Hitched exactly out of reach.