Intaglio

Bones carved from

linoleum and pressed into paper callus

over the walls of the basement printmaking studio,

obscuring the scars of thumbtacks that set out

so many phantom frames.

The lights go on by themselves

when we open the door. Above

the surface of the worn wooden drawing table,

inside the plane of the computer screen, lines draw

across the skin like wires of

suspension bridges, shadowing forth seams

that could be incisions

or mere surface marks. Confronted

by the flat world-within-a-world of the operating room, we return

to our own hands, our own

skin. The carving tools silvered

dark where our fingertips

converge, or at the point from which they

emanate. As we draw

our own lines, mold our own image-worlds, the edges along

our fingers, arms, shoulders, profiles, eyes become

lines also: drawn. When we carve space

away, we press the shadows into the new lines with our nails and

separate ourselves,

cut open our paper bodies

with the traced-over contours of our tarnished hands, whose

fingers melt toward

etched translucency, until

the edges we imagined

reveal themselves to be

our own disintegrating

bounds.

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