Quadrants of the Body

I believe the body is a continent,
with the occasional skirmish of the leg,
a reconstitution of the skin,
a revolution in the blood.
During the divorce, my mother sang,

It’s impossible.

In junior high my body held the line
of flag football when Joe Nims
caught the ball and rushed left.
Charging me, growing larger
as a function of perspective.

Please release me.

Can the brain gain weight?
When I was six my father
handed me a lit firecracker
with no explanation
on the Fourth of July.

Make the world go away.

No keys to hang,
I bought rabbits’ feet
at the drugstore
in pink, green, and blue.
Rubbed them in my pocket

if a bully stole my lunchbox.

In heaven all of my pets
come back. The seasons
put me here. I want to tell
my story. I will fall
from the limb in a cradle.


from Henry Gray (1825–1861).Anatomy of the Human Body.

Copyright 2012, James Cihlar

James Cihlar is the author of Undoing (Little Pear Press, 2008) and Metaphysical Bailout (Pudding House Press, 2010). His second full-length collection, Rancho Nostalgia, is forthcoming in 2013 from Dream Horse Pr/ess. His writing appears in American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Lambda Literary Review, Smartish Pace, and Mary.

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