cage as body


At the Moment of Beginning
Mary Jo Bang

A cage can be a body: heart in the night
quieted slightly; mind, a stopped top.
Clock spring set. Hand in motion.
The fact of the hollowed nothing head.

How did we come to this? Inch by inch.
I was born, borrowed from the beast;
I was now property in a country
where chain reigns—the empire city of I.


So, the empire: the breath, the legend
of the well-guarded hell.
One comes to tell you
what you should have done differently.

I think, I say, and I am not you.
In the margin of fear I heard a woman
convincing me to listen.
“Listen,” she said, “to the doctor.”


The city before this was nothing,
but swirled sand in a storm.
Nothing turns back. I saw a fluttering
I recognized in the distance.

Out of nowhere, there was red:
the furnace and the beating heart.
Every giddy excess behind the beginning
was also leading to the emphatic end.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash