My Reader As Prosthesis

come with me
I have lived many lives
all of them my own
all of them lies

ride the contours of my brain
we’ll name a mountain
room with me on a passenger ship
we’ll drink wine
we’ll spit in the ocean
I’ll deny that I ever knew you

in open prairie
sit by my fire
we’ll drum memories
from oak logs
our sparks of recollection
will rise and wink out
every day a ceremony
ending in ashes

I remain true to solitude
my daily amputations
spill ink onto blank pages
phantom limbs tell me
your stories
your name is written
on my prosthesis

I don’t think about you
when I make my climb
the snow is deep
each step precarious
but when I see you at the summit
I shout a greeting
hoping to be buried
in your avalanche





Martin Settle taught English for thirty-two years, the last seventeen of which were at UNC-Charlotte. He has published six books (a memoir, an art design book, and four collections of poetry). In addition, he has been awarded The Thomas McDill Award and The Poetry of Courage Award (both from North Carolina Poetry Society), the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Award, and the Griffin-Farlow Haiku Award. For additional information, visit

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