being just a poem

by Maggie Wang

being just a poem & not a body on the
operating table, I never expected you to
cut me open & tear me to pieces—never
thought you would take your scalpel &
carve my abdomen up like the last virgin
forest & twist my organs into knots in
your quest to cure me (I was never ill)

being just a poem & not a dish served
at the dinner table, I never expected you
to prod me with your fork & lift me from
the (page/plate) & into your mouth—
never thought you would chew me up &
spit me out again “in your own words”

being just a poem & not a petty thief or
traitor or arsonist, I never expected you
to hang me in the town square for the
amusement of children—never thought
you would let me choke on my own words
“until dead” so they might remember my
crimes (I have no lessons to teach them)

being just a poem, I never could have
known how you would break down my
doors & flood my eyes with light not my
own—never thought you would pick me
apart & put me back together again with
my syllables all jumbled up—

           but of course you would, &
if I had known, I would have asked the
poet who wrote me to keep me locked up
in her tachycardiac heart & never let me
whisper loudly enough to drown out that
anxious, too-fast beat-beat-beating—