Nicci Mechler is a graduate student studying in Northern Kentucky University's Department of English. Her work has previously appeared in literary magazines such as The Pinch, Lost Cause Review, Licking River Review, and is upcoming in Roanoke Review.
A Median Sternotomy
opens the chest at the sternum
like a book with stubborn bindings.
Bone is sawed and spread to expose the lungs
and heart for repair. My injury is quiet
and requires no incision.
Heavy staples remain like seeds left to swell in a wash of salt
and transform into fishes. I do not
mistake these slips of remembrance for food--
take no satisfaction from reddened scars.
I pull these threads tight, tie the edges closed.
It hasn’t yet healed together, my flesh
where my father lives in the deep,
below, in the shadow of my heart--
a great whale forever out of reach.
I’ve Been Thinking
about burying you beneath the roses.
You know, the ones in the front beside the loose downspout.
They grow better with fat in their roots. The human body has plenty
of that and more. My mother loves those roses.
But this neighborhood has a lot of dogs. You know how they like to dig
and gnaw and carry things home.
They would sniff you out and take your femurs first.
That’s how it would happen.
I’ve seen these things before,
but your mother’s lovely, and I have a soft spot for mothers.
I think it would kill her to lose you,
so I probably won’t really do it, though the roses would be lush.
We’re not happy, you and I.