The Hematoma by Arien Reed

I asked them with their annelidous hands

To take my breasts away gently as gauze

To leave me with only sunken wounds

The size of two saucers across my chest

And so I came out two days later

With one green and yellow flattened flesh

But one even bigger breast

The cure for surgery is more surgery

And complications only happen to good people

But no matter how many times you say it

As you grasp and press the giggling mass

I’m not sure if I’m good people

Or more a jagged path of open mistakes

But my drainage bulbs are half-filled hearts

That almost fill my husband’s hands

Their tubes purple-red as the sharpie

Bruising my name, your name, and allergies

Across the scalpel-bright whiteboard wall

And where yesterday I held a handful of flesh

I now hold a numb nipple and a cavern of blood

While in my other, a pen I can barely touch

To the line below waived warnings

I again only pretend to read

The Tramadol buzz rising, my limbs lowering

And still I smile and I’m sure—because of it—

This was never, can never, be a mistake


Arien Reed, a queer, Baha’i, invisibly disabled pterodactyl, holds an MFA from National University and co-founded, and is currently the president of, the LGBTQ Allied Staff and Faculty Association at Fresno City College from which he flies from rafters to screech at homophobic velociraptors. Ze is also the lunatic left in charge of the free “Fresno & Online Writers’ Workshops” which can be stumbled upon on Eventbrite. Their chapbook “The End” was recently unleashed on the world by Roaring Junior Press, his unpublished collections have been finalists for the Kore Press, Grayson Books, and Press 53 poetry prizes, and zirs ravings and scribbles have somehow found their way into Oberon, Florida Review, Sonora Review, High Shelf Press, J Mane Gallery, Allegory Ridge, and others. Their descent into madness can be witnessed on FB or IG: @arienreed 

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