shown on this map:

all the things we let in

to the soft tissue of our bodies—

car alarms, pesticides, oxygen.

Some chosen; some forced:

nicotine, asbestos.     Latitude of

learned habits and gestures—your hand’s

loose cursive clearly from your mother,

hunched right shoulder, a frontal range

of scar tissue and knots

from decades of schlepping grocery bags.

Elbow, a pingo, where memory surfaces:

your grandfather teaching you

to whack tennis balls against the garage

until your arm hurt,

and you had to stop. He’s dead now.

Cancer. Odds near 1:1

when you work at the mill that long.

He always said cities are built on our backs,

our shoulders, our necks. Each vertebrae

a dotted metropolis.

No wonder you’re tired. Some days

it’s all you can do to stand not weep

at the headlines; to take

the recycling out. To keep open,

let one more good thing in.