ESTABLISHING AN AIRWAY stephanie roberts

after i've dissected everyone
burned their pieces across the universe
what will be left of me?
i, who have led a quiet and despairing
search for a town called Compassion
where i might lay down this scalpel
this rib spreader
this enucleator
this flame thrower
that has cleared a bearable path
from my mother's stranglehold or
brought me destructively close
through the route of passage.

tenderness population unknown
if i find a person like a place
like a lay-down-your-head-against-forever
would they find me ice that forms
in the base of a bootprint in snow
amid the linger of march winter
memory only of warmth
ghost of the air necessary.