Joe in Repair

looking down where the leg used to be
there is only hardware.
Something issued.
The curved blade flexes
like a foot that was once there,
bone shaft is now
part some of this, some of that,
like a ghost bone
made from other wounded.

What has improved as much as
the offensive weaponry
is the defensive repairs they can make.
Take this soldier, replace the foot
stand him up again
like new.

Gut shots once lethal
can be peppered with clotting agent
right there in the laboratory of
the battlefield.
Skin glued. Bones grown.
Everything else substituted.

Still waiting
for the prosthesis
that plugs into the
voided soul,
or the magic dust
that makes a heart
what it once was,
returns a man to sleep,
a mind, past weeping.





kessingerMark Kessinger attended college at Cleveland State, on a creative writing scholarship, publishing two collections through the CSU Poetry Center: The Exploded View and The Book of Joe. He lived briefly in Oklahoma City before settling down in the Houston area. He has led several workshops in writing and edited a chapbook series titled Voices from Big Thicket. A founding member of the Houston council of Writers, he has also appeared at the Houston Poetry Fest. His work has appeared in a variety of small press magazines as well as three major anthologies.

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