The Problem of Hands, by Louise Mathias

And how to fill them
is the problem of cigarettes and paint.

First time I felt my undoing
was in front of

a painting—Sam Francis, I believe.

Oh, his bloomed out, Xanax-ed California.

I liked the word guard, but you know

we made each other
nervous, standing too close

for everyone concerned. All art being

a form of violence
as a peony
is violence.

Here you come

with your open hands.

Difficult Body, by Mark Wunderlich

A story: There was a cow in the road, struck by a semi–
half-moon of carcass and jutting legs, eyes
already milky with dust and snow, rolled upward

as if tired of this world tilted on its side.
We drove through the pink light of the police cruiser,
her broken flank blowing steam in the air.

Minutes later, a deer sprang onto the road
and we hit her, crushed her pelvis–the drama reversed,
first consequence, then action–but the doe,

not dead, pulled herself with front legs
into the ditch. My father went to her, stunned her
with a tire iron before cutting her throat, and today I think

of the body of St. Francis in the Arizona desert,
carved from wood and laid in his casket,
lovingly dressed in red and white satin

covered in petitions–medals, locks of hair,
photos of infants, his head lifted and stroked,
the grain of his brow kissed by the penitent.

O wooden saint, dry body. I will not be like you,
carapace. A chalky shell scooped of its life.
I will leave less than this behind me.