Amy Sailer

Cyborgs, Flowering

           I didn’t expect
the hall of cyborgs to look like this—like portraits of me
                         hung in a long gallery
                                                          on the dating site—
I divided myself—
                                       I cleaved her from me,

                                       I collaged and arranged
                                       my most flattering photographs,
               different approaches to my face and body
                           that become her
flickering around and around
                                                    in the zoetrope of autobiography
(forget the time-lapses between each photograph
              as the camera forgets the past lover who stood behind the shutter,
                           whose body always leaves
              space for a new body to step into, and gaze);
I wrote about time, how she makes use of it, the composition of her days,
            then I left her in the room to wait.

                                   How does a profile open?
            The dolls’ roof yawns wide
to reveal them in Victorian rooms, hands in their laps
             folded like cloth swans
so formal you believe
                                  you almost caught them misbehaving—

               Is the trick
to imagine desire like a bloom, opening its skirts
               for better weather? Open, ladyslipper. Open, gold-slaked throat
               of the Asiatic lily. They open to drink, and I open

                                                                a profile
               like I pry open a clamshell into a moth’s gray wings.
It’s hard not to imagine longing as the clam’s
                        pearlescent pink raw
as the insides of thighs in summer, hard not to forget
when I’ve pried her so far from me, left her behind
            to do my dating for me,
how her desire opens our shared body.

A native of southwest Virginia, Amy Sailer now lives and teaches in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Meridian, Burnside Review, and Broad Street Magazine.