Appendectomy Over Axis Waters
by Liza Bachman

I snap the blade into the scalpel’s handle
______Metal tongue, the violator’s shaft, is familiar to my hand
__________________the long nails of a vamp should suit me better

The brusque soldier,
____________just hours ago all hands and pinches
______settles from screams into ether’s kind arms
His blood chases my blade across his iodine-sick, fur-pocked belly

I am inside now
______inside the jungly cleft, the snaky gut
With a genuine smile I reach up to my wrist, grip his bowels
____________think of rape, how unwanted my penetration is
______I am not a doctor
____________(my Hippocratic oath is closer to hypocrisy)
______I am not a man on a plane of men
______I should be serving my only real purpose

______I have delivered babies too often
____________from sad WACs and WAVEs in denial
______I have cleaned holes crusty with gangrene
____________bartered cigarettes for bluebottles
______Prayed on abscessed flesh with maggot rosaries
I search the viscera for a moment
______despise such an empty cavern where womb should be
______Mere ducts and spaces
A vessel of death, hands strapped to carbine or torpedo

The musty little bag, the putrid sac of an organ we never need,
______exits with a scant graze of my knife
__________________bursts with a pop like Nazi gunfire
____________splatters onto parachutes and flyboys
__________________like shrapnel into Nipponese faces

I sew up this rent belly
______and hope
____________if plane and firestorm and enemy are willing
___this boy turned man turned killer turned foul body
______will die in a foxhole
____________smeared across tank treads
__________________crushed in the wreckage of a bomber
His devoutest dream, his destiny, his preference

Not in bed

_______ in the arms of a woman.


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