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A Car, A Man, A Maraca

By Charlie Bondhus

At the mirror I heft
elbows, belly, cock,
say hematocrit—44.3; hemoglobin—15.2;
neutrophils—62; monocytes—5.

You’ve stopped
reading and seem to be counting
the buds on the campanula.

Carbon dioxide—25, I say, high end
of normal; testosterone—297, low end
of normal, though I’d prefer topical
cream to shots.

You say There’s an art
to being entered
but I don’t really remember.

Outside our window a car passes;
rounded light lassoes
my legs, hogties me,
like in an old cowboy movie.

I remember one where the evil
gringo prospector is smuggling a priceless
Zapotec fertility statue
inside what appears to be nothing
more than a broken maraca and in the end
when the incorruptible vaquero returns the statue
to the priest they discover that it’s been battered
and chipped to the point of androgyny, and I think
the title was A Car, A Man, A Maraca, but
when I tell you, you laugh and say
that’s a palindrome and I respond my potassium,
chloride, and calcium levels are all normal

and you, thinking I didn’t understand, explain
it can be read either way and I say, yes.

Added: Friday, October 16, 2015  /  Used with permission.
Charlie Bondhus
Photo by Kevin Hinkle.

Charlie Bondhus’s second poetry book, All the Heat We Could Carry, won the 2013 Main Street Rag Award and the 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, The Bellevue Literary Review, and Copper Nickel. He is assistant professor of English at Raritan Valley Community College (NJ), poetry editor at The Good Men Project, and the Coordinator of the Publishing Triangle’s Trans/Gender Variant Literature Award.

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