Jack Martin

A girl had three arms,
a left arm, a right arm,
and a seeing arm, a Hindu arm,
smack in the middle of her neck.
Long and bent, it poked
from her sweater at the nape
like a skinny, lonesome wing,
a conscious, wayward Joshua tree
rooted on her shoulders' timberline,
the remnant of some lost twin
or the anticipation of a future
child trying to rise,
climb off her spine
like a pink phoenix
to hang fingers in blue sky.

She loved it.
Gangly savior, it slapped naughty,
clean-faced boys, quick terrorists
who darted and snickered
behind her. It was her hero.

She hated it.
Dark prankster, it covered her eyes
at unexpected moments
in traffic or wading rocky streams.
She spelled and abraded bloody words

There are parts of ourselves
we cannot save.
It had a heart of its own,
pumping at the base of her neck.
She found herself wrestling
with herself behind herself
until the arm popped loose

and folded up and away
to become a propeller
or a gull
without a flock,
a shrill doubt
opening and closing,
a grin gone sunset,
pink streamer
shrinking into the dark,
blue attic of her soul.

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©Copyright Jack Martin