Ruth Ellen Kocher

the gigans: xvii.

last night my chest opened like a house
swinging the front doors back on their hinges.

the night found its way inside, curled into a backdrop
for the heart which beat a strange and tangled rhythm.
the ribs stood rigidly futile, scaffolding my failures,

my muscles, my tendons, my arteries and veins,
and when the doors flew open, no herd of wildebeests

sprinted forward, no black mamba slithered, no zebras
darted from behind my lungs, no giraffes sauntered out,

no meerkats, no mongoose, cheetahs or gazelle
fleeing them. i felt my chest open on a hinge of night.

inside, i found muscle and tendons, arteries and veins.
what was there avowed what i am no more than what
i am not. do you hear the heart’s struggle to beat again?

do you hear the savanna’s grasses rattling the wind like a cage,
the sound of those beasts grazing each pace of their feral plain?