Words equivalent to body
mean dead. I am not carcassed

despite leaving my body
in a heap on the bed.

A bird beats its beak
against wood—learning

a body is like that—headlong
resolve into a hard thing

made soft by rain & repetition.
I kneel over my body

& dig & dig & dig
searching for the inseam’s zipper.

Words equivalent to buried
mean body: a breathing tomb

I coax myself into
by clutching the spine & parting it.

I am kneeling over my breasts.
I am slipping on my face.

Imagining a ring on each,
I slide my fingers on

& hook my knuckles
like buttons into their satin loops.

If I have allowed another
to undo me—

skin, the stockings
peeled down the legs

—it’s to learn the body:
each hem & rib, each

vertebrae & tooth
in the zipper I use to exit.

There is pleasure in the question:
this time will I want to

kneel & dig & climb back in?
I’ve yet to learn the difference

between bone & snare.
There will come a time

when I won’t work free
the noose in my hair.

Katie Condon