top of page
ode to my heart, ending in a cpr mannequin soaked
in gasoline

alison kronstadt

after Hanif Abdurraqib

Honestly? I don’t know you well enough for this.

Your downstairs neighbor hogs the real estate, her pangs

& prowlings ballooning over you, dwarf-fist scrawling

troches in a constant epic, whether I read them or not.  


But I’ve learned you. Sat in fluorescence strung through

a span of years & mapped your defects, the mechanics

of dragging you through the motions if & when you uncurl

a resignation from the labor of messengering blood.  

I’m certified in your revival. I’ve counted out loud

to thirty, bouncing over a plastic chest –


flat. Nipples like dimes littering a level stretch

of sidewalk, the kind that’s never been your roof. Every instructor

didacts about the importance of bare skin, same speech

over factory-model same bodies, prototypes of worth saving.


If I am brought back from the grave, it’s going to be

with my tits out. Flopping like caught fish, as unhomed

& in a body as unable to breathe. You, subaquatic, still

& untouched by the chaos on the surface. I know the ungainly


& the need for practice. When the man on Centre St collapsed

after the open mic, the doctor worked his sternum like a bellows. Heave

& recoil. Maybe my would-be rescuer will just let me die,

watch you sink to spare the onlookers the scandal of my flesh.


I spiral in the training: one loop an imagination of precious seconds

wasted on indecision over exposure, a tighter coil spent pondering

on a modest choice followed by an sabred underwire skewering

through you, world’s saddest kebab. I melodramatize & you

pump away, skipping each red rope, same flawless rhythm.


We are repeatedly taught to underrate the steady; soft thump

of everpresence. I skate my hand along the water & your waves

kiss my fingers. Write me a verse where we engulf everything

that can’t see us. Not all the way to burning, but we can bring it

closer to the brink for when the burning comes. Let’s sneak back


to the scene of erasure. I’ll bring a fuel-can stand-in

for your ventricled eyes, & you, O Moby, uncaught & unkilled,

you whirl a breakneck pace, you tilt your stare to the surface

& watch the ripples spread.

bottom of page