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I THINK MY BODY IS POLYTHEISTIC, STELLA SAID

because I keep dreaming I’m bleeding and

                             the sacrifice is twofold, at least it must be because
                                                                           right before I wake up

I’m covered in blood and the bed
is a pond filled with dark clumps

of algae, but there is no algae, the clumps
are clots from inside me,

                        as if inside me has turned against me and eaten
                        what the inside is not supposed to digest

                                                                                                                    and I sift my blood
like I’m searching for gold, straining
the red pond through my pillowcase                   when I find


the gold near my feet.
                                                                                                       I didn’t know I didn’t even

know my body had made what would have been

                                                                       a baby.  I don’t sing the body electric.

I am my only suspect, my body
the found weapon thrown into the pond—                                    I wake up ready

to comply with the law, like Dido, but the blood
                          is gone, no trace of the gold or fool’s

body thinking it could make so precious a thing of blood and darkness.
I remember the body is sometimes called a temple and think in my sleep

there is a god who needs to sacrifice the firstborn.
                                                                                                  In my case the born was not
sacrificed in the right order so sleep must be
a shaman prophesizing what happens if the gods are angry

or sleep is the murderer and the gods
I haven’t listened to for years or ever are

making me choose my body or the body I’ve made
and I cry in the shower so you don’t see

                                                                                                             and I don’t have to tell
you in the end of the dream

how I drink the blood from the bed and cannot make the body outside me live.
Posted 03/07/13
"I Think My Body Is Polytheistic, Stella Said" first appeared in The Collagist, February 2011
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