Poetry

“Damage” by Lawrence Raab.

A woman tries to saw her leg off.
Before she can finish, she passes out.
She wakes up in the hospital, discovers
the leg’s still there, makes
her next plan: railroad tracks, a train.

She doesn’t want to die,
she wants to get rid of the leg,
which she hates. Nothing’s wrong with it,
but when she looks in a mirror
the woman she sees has only one leg.

Nobody’s shocked anymore to hear
about men who believe they’re women,
women who need to be men.
Some people dream of themselves
without legs or arms. Some dream
of making love to those without legs
or arms. Some dream of watching.

Are these arguments against
the existence of God? Not if this
is what God likes to do-experiment
with the endless ways desire
can make us crazy. How easy it must be
to do that to people. Is there anything
someone hasn’t wanted? So the woman

is happy to lie down in the dark
on the cold tracks, the train
blindly approaching-and then
the thought that really
this isn’t going to work, and then

the voice she’s heard once or twice before
tells her to be still, tells her
not to be afraid,
tells her she can hardly imagine
how beautiful she will be.

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