In Spite Of Ourselves

and in spite of the hogs in the bathtub
in spite of the Amazonian Boa wrapped like a turban
around the small bowl of your head
that preserves a warm intelligent porridge

in spite of the black hole in your stomach
that warps time around your body

in spite of the abandoned ship of your bed
the missing first mate
no rudder and the last of the rum
dumped into the engine that spat and died

in spite of the green fields punctured
with stones and flowers

in spite of the sister who’s brain matter grew
beyond the boundaries of her skull
who’s pieces are by now disconnected
lying like Pickup Sticks beside her mother
whose liver and kidneys failed
and a father whose nervous system ate his legs
then the hips and arms . . .

and even though you can still see his ribs
like the white bars to the crib
someone said you shared with your sister
for the first years of your lives

even though the smell of saline and shit still sit
in the pit of your brain
and all of their voices
have frosted over
like a leaky window in winter — somehow

you manage to sleep and dream
somehow the lights in the bedside aquarium
feel warm and the fish have managed
to create another life

and even though the parents or something
ate it
you still believe
you still stay up nights telling yourself to believe

every two-bit body is worth preserving
if not for itself
then for those other bodies
those finished lives that continue
nurtured inside the shattered minds
of you who survived


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