Zoe in Me

by Chris Buchanan
Poetry, 2014

I used to gaze into my navel all the time. It’s deep
and big, and clever and quiet. It seemed
like I could never get enough, all warm guts
and playful, static fluff and special smells
that seemed to tell of things you could only see
from the inside of a t-shirt, sized XXXL.
It was the navel of a poet.

Some poets have holes in their hearts, empty
and sucking like wounds, lonely, hungry
and down in the dumps of their chests,
but my blood pumps fine. It’s just red wine
and pasta and pies that sluice through tubes
and patter on my breast ’til I come to rest
an eye on my belly.

But Zoe is stuck in the button. Five years
it’s been now, and I curl up and tell her,
get out! You’re the girl that got away, yeah?
So get the fuck away and get out my curly hair.
She’s cluttering up my space, living in my place
and lately every pissing poem’s still about her.
It’s just embarrassing.

I want my navel back, blissfully empty, mysterious,
black with the absence of certain knowledge –
serious, studious, moody as fuck and bleak
as an ink blot period – a great big belt line firmly
buckled under it and locked up. I want to look
under my skin, get wise, see it all, from A to Y
and write about that.

Let me gaze into eternity,
feel empty,
mutter wisdom and musty skin
again.

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