Figure and Ground

By Vicki Reitenauer

My lovely you, the figure
and her ground: once a woman,
now a moth
tacked to the cardboard
of a hospital bed by so many
pins, or perhaps by the inverse
of the pin’s linear
integrity: by the deconstruction
of pelvis, coccyx, breast-
bone, those anchors in the body’s
deep red sea. The car
that pinned you, knocked you
down to perch
on the shore of you
like a discovering ship
and then those people
that saw, that jumped not off
the ship but on it to pull
it from the wreck of you, your
body a confusion, inseparable from
this ship that keeps showing up
as from the shore as from
the sea itself,
pacifying, seductive
in its depths, in theory much
moreso than this moth
which you also are, and which you feel
whispering inside your mercifully
unpierced lungs
but cannot set free, broken
sternum saving talk
and cough and
weeping for some longed-
for future, some future metaphor,
future version of my lovely, my
                  demolished, you.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 9

Vicki Reitenauer was a co-founding member of the Philadelphia-based poetry performance collective, It Ain’t Pretty. Currently she finds herself living, writing and teaching in Portland, Oregon.

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