Yvonne Zipter


          “My Buddy, my Buddy, no Buddy quite so true.”
          —Gus Kahn

She pronounces body like buddy,
and I try to remember the last time
I thought of my body as a friend.
A maroon firebolt streaks down

my belly, pointing to the spot where
that black seed tried to take root
to bear its rotten fruit. My body was
no buddy. Saboteur, more likely.

You have to read to the end, I remind myself,
to get the whole story, the part where
the immune system comes riding in
on a white horse, the part where muscle

fibers knit themselves together,
mend the empty satchel of my womb,
the part where cells take tiny tools
and repair the wreckage wrought by chemo.

My body is no buddy—it’s a warrior,
the hero of an epic battle between
being and being no more. Dear body,
I owe you a damn victory parade.

Yvonne Zipter is the author of the poetry collections The Wordless Lullaby of Crickets (forthcoming), Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal, and Like Some Bookie God, the nonfiction books Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet, and the Russian historical novel Infraction.


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