1. Germain, Shanna R.

Article Content

Late night, cool back room at the local college,


we sit in a circle on the carpet,


study hand placement, xiphoid process,


proper angle for your head. We can't help


but make fun of your lifeless body,


your gaping mouth. Someone names you Lil' Joe.


My turn, I count . . . 1, 2, 3. Press my lips


against your plastic ones, laugh at the


lipstick mark on your plastic skin.


From your chest, you belch a sheet of paper:


proper depth, proper breath.


After class, I go home, wash the dishes,


pet the cat, believe I know something


about saving the world.


Early morning, cracked black sidewalk,


crowd circling your fallen form, your hands reaching,


reaching up for me. A sound, a sigh-


I lean over your still body, your gaping mouth.


Your wife clings to the stop sign,


whispers, "Wait, Joe."


She is trying to stay upright.


I count . . . 1, 2, 3.


Your lips shirk mine,


your chest crackles like paper.


And your eyes, your blue eyes,


blue as the forget-me-nots,


which I would not have planted


had I known.