Norman Prentiss

The Heaven of Severed Arms

They are not angry, not
groping horrors stuck
like coathooks on gothic
castle walls, reaching
through prison bars.

Here they sway, these discards
from the surgeon, tossed
in labeled bins: Frostbite.
Infection. Cancer.
Forgotten victims of mis-
aligned power saws or
trucks that pass too close
to station wagon windows.

Here their disappointment
flowers into open fingers
grasping at memories:
warmth in a denim pocket,
the smooth touch of silk
or easy familiarity
of a television remote,

how it feels to cup cool air
whistling between your fingers
at fifty-five miles an hour.