This morning spread against my bed
Legs sprawled like a frog pinned to the dissection table
I laugh because that’s what intimacy feels like.
Even though I know what to expect,
I still hold my breath because every time
I open myself up to you,
Feels like the anxiety attacks I used to get in science lab.

Take the scalpel, slice open my belly, find the
secrets safely hidden away between my ribs.

I turned a bird inside out today,
Dissected the chicken on the countertop.
I took out the spine and placed it in the sink.
Muscles or meat, living or food: distinction?
Tears on my cheek, gently separating meat from bone
I take the bird, take the life
No longer. Made new again.

Life cannot be studied without a little formaldehyde
While I cannot be experienced without extreme patience.

Ventral side up. Gently whisper into my hips,
Guide pins. Hold in place. A slow and steady hand
Works wonders in the field of learning.
Slowly peel back skin, muscle,
Find where you fit within the spaces in my chest,
Make yourself a nest, and sleep in it.

I’ll keep your name safe in my mouth
If you keep the taste of my heart safe in yours.

The pain remains in the body, memories stored in tissue.
If the chicken retains blood, then my stomach remains scarred
Choked behind painful events, the past resurfaces
And just as I pick out the blood and the fat,
Carve out positive memories in my gut,
Leave beautiful marks on my skin, kiss away
The shadow of the handprint that changed me.

The delicate bones of the bird, discarded
And my discarded memories of the past, delicate.

There’s probably something in here about how healing
Is like cooking for someone you love,
And how loving is like tearing yourself into tiny pieces
Hoping that the dish will be baked to perfection
And that the scientist in the kitchen won’t spend too long
Inspecting the muscles in your bird,
And that the poet in your bedroom won’t spend too long
Trying to find words for the feelings
They keep getting stuck in.