Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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     The emotional complications that arise after one person’s tissue is sutured into another’s. Patients
     will often imagine a relationship to their tissue donors.

When the black Lab chewed off my nose
and hard palate, I’d passed

out from the pinot
noir and white

handful of Ambien. And when

I finally reached for my cigarettes, one slipped
from the hole

where my lips had vanished. He must’ve
been hungry. I must’ve been

unconscious on the bath mat
all week without waking. When the surgeons

sewed a dead woman’s nose, lips, and chin

to my skull, I didn’t ask
her name or where

she was from, but the papers

printed it: a middle-
aged suicide who’d hanged herself in her French

village just days
before the operation. And when I began

to regain the taste
of a tangerine’s meat, the whiff of menthol

from a stale pack, I could feel her

senses still pulsing. I repainted
my bathroom from a bucket

of French blue, hung a thrift-store

portrait of a cottage near the window. I got
strong men to tear

out the tub and replace it
with a claw-foot. I put

a provincial armoire in the corner. Once, I dropped
my robe to the carpet and caught myself

nude in the mirror—the frame always
tilted slightly back—

I had to stop

staring at my neck. When my right hand
moved to unhook

my rose gold chain, I felt myself
tug just once, and the skin

under my chin rippled. That’s when I tore
each swinging curtain

in the house from its rod, each loose
lace tie, I removed

every possible noose.  

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