Quanto la Cosa è Più Perfetta

            The closer a thing comes to its perfection,
            more keen will be its pleasure or pain.

The drugs mean nothing. I’m awake.
Someone takes my blood and leaves
amid vague, distant beeping. An icy angle

of light filters in onto the blankets, the dark
of a sterile room at night. Hours ago
I relinquished my pants,

stripped in the cold for a nurse to catalog
my inventory of ink and scars.
She’d asked unanswerable

questions: How long since your last
period? When was the last time
you had a full meal? A paper body,

generically-shaped, filled with marks:

limbs ballpoint-broken. No use for bed,
I pace the empty halls without
hunger, alone and close to ecstasy.


Jen Coleman’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in: The Southeast Review, New Welsh Review, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Buddhist Poetry Review, Vinyl Poetry, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from Hollins University, and she currently teaches English at Lynchburg College.