Autotomist

by M. Cynthia Cheung

If, like salamanders, we were born
with fault lines built in,
tucked deep
between planes of flesh,
the day-to-day might
be easier. No need
to defend, or even explain.
You say should
I twitch, twitch
a muscle, and my tail drops
wriggling wetly.
Tomorrow I’ll grow
another one. Why can’t you
Hush. So simple. I shrug
off my shoulders, a gelatinous
coil heaped and glistening.
New claws, translucent-tipped,
push out from raw pink sockets.
How I slide apart—
glut of regenerate
organs pressed along whorled
banks of water and skin.
I can walk through
anytime I like.
You’re still talking.

 

M. Cynthia Cheung is a physician in Texas.

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