On an installation in the Milwaukee Art Museum

The room a little ventricle on the second floor, tucked away. Cut
with a surgeon’s precision, a sudden dark
corner of a museum of lapping light and mute waves.

There, the open heart
beats on film. A red bed is
parked like a gurney.

The sound is of scalpels escaping
their antiseptic sheathes, and a doctor
asking garble garble as the tape
is played back and forth and forth
and back, and back, and always, the heart

beating
faster, slower, slower, faster,
slower, slower, slow,
slow,
so slow
now it will surely stop.

Then:
Faster, faster,
faster and frantic, faster, steady, faster
and a firebird, rising up from the bed into the dark canopied ceilings
to scream: “I
am.”

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