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Sport 35: Winter 2007

Allemande left

page 48

Allemande left

Open him up, open him up! But all there is
is body. His skin bleached
by holidays spent singing
in hospitals. Or days when he'd slide

through his slate offices. His breathing now
like folkdancing: Allemande left
your corners. Makes you think of a century
modeling a brown dress. And where to store

his familiar packaging; you're sorting through crisp
bends in elbows, knees. When morning begins
to pester the windows, you'll ask him anything
to gauge his head. Now he's no longer independent

of levels of liquid in machines. When his eyes clamp, you
recall his slicked lines, that glossed
swing of him; the way he might
lay you down over and over. For now

you're just the immensity
of bother; cutlery, notes of explanation, a running
through all our bloody organs. His sides
are gently splitting. Someone's flushing him out. Every bed

tiring of its own floor. Stern, digital
numbers, the results of footfall, the traffic sounding clogged
and snug in your head. His remnants of rote—meanings mislaid—
are the last to leave. His eyes slick as a ream. The pieces

wedged in there, resembling fractions.
And the tiny city, lapping at his heels.