Stephie used to leave notes to Charley
beside her prosthetic breasts:
I’ve gone to bed, enjoy yourself.
Once she stenciled a bumble bee
next to her dusky lip-colored nipple.
Honey, you’re the best, she wrote.
He had her cremated. He burned
her wig, her smile, her voice, but not
the yellow and black-striped bug—
a picture of himself—on her bosom.
If he heard buzzing, natural or electric,
he shivered inside with panic.
Losing my hand was like that pain,
circles of light everywhere as I stared
at the drug’s wash coming near.
Like Stephie, I left notes to my love,
my new hand on the bureau as if
forever wanting to greet someone
who ached to feel the scraped-up,
snaggled ends of my wrist, the lava
of my whole hand lost inside her tremor.
Barrett Warner raises running and timber horses and persimmons at his farm in Maryland’s Gunpowder watershed. His poems have appeared in Gargoyle, California Quarterly, Roanoke Review, Natural Bridge, Comstock Review, Quarter After Eight, Freshwater, Pembroke Magazine, Southeast Review, Common Ground Review, Slipstream, Flagler Review and Snail Mail Review. His chapbook Til I’m Blue in the Face was published by Tropos Press.