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by Jordan Upshaw

My bones feel soft
enough to slip my hands
right through my chest,
part my breastbone like clay

reach inside and take out
my organs, one by one

fill the bathtub with cool water
gently place each organ in to soak

rinse cheap vodka from my liver
squeeze the smoke from my lungs
let them fill with water instead

watch my kidneys bob at the surface
like palm-sized beans

empty my stomach gently for once
unwind my too tightly coiled intestines
to float in water instead of blood

I’d save my heart for last
wash it carefully
inspect it for bruises
clear the valves and arteries

I wonder if it would still beat
as I held it in both hands
or if we could both finally rest

Jordan Upshaw never got over her childhood obsession with stories. She originally hailed from Virginia but has relocated to Vermont to study Professional Writing. She loves the great outdoors as long as there isn’t direct sunlight or humidity or insects involved. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say she loves the great outdoors on cloudy fall days and not many others. If you tell her a good story she won’t forget it, and odds are she’ll write about it someday. Her fiction, memoirs, and poetry can be found in Willard & Maple, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Chivomengro, and more.

Lead image: “Heart” (via Flickr user Sandrine Valette)