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MATTHEW OLZMANN

Nateís Glass Eye

I ask him to keep an eye on my things.
I return to find a blue iris and a pupil that never
dilates, glaring up at me from my plate
of fettuccini and stuffed olives.

I used to believe the body was like Lego bricks,
pieces that could be plucked off and replaced,
a simple procedure, executed by any man
with a scalpel, a wrench, a green mask.

My wife has had seven surgeries in her life.
Her Thyroid gland is in a jar, waiting for her
in the ether of eternity. She has no way
to grow a new one, but a lifetime of pills

tells her she doesnít have to. Donate your organs
after death, and they call the art of extracting
your entrails organ recovery, as if the heart
were a vessel, buried by the waves,

and a team of rescue divers could salvage
the remains. I used to believe
that if the body died, the guts went as well.
But, kidneys can be kept alive for twenty hours

after the bodyís expiration date. The heart,
almost as long if death is due to massive head trauma.
And if the gears can fit into another puzzle,

they can continue flexing, asking, What time
is the game,
or, Where do I live?
But what happens to the man whose heart
tries to hammer its way out through a strangerís chestó

the rest of him stumbling through shadows, a hand
exploring the hole in his torso, searching for valves
that the mouth can no longer name. I used to believe
the body came with a warranty, breath was certain.

But whatís it mean when you stare into an eye
without a lid or a fist without fingers?
And what kind of sign is it, when the parts
built from glass outlast whatís left of the flesh?



Matthew Olzmann was a 2006 Kundiman Fellow. He has recently published work or has work forthcoming in the Atlanta Review, Hanging Loose, Rattle, and the MacGuffin. He is currently a Writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.



Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761