The Arm

the ghost pain in the severed arm,
the twitch in the lost limb,
is the trace of your religion,
cherished, beloved, and gangrenous
long before amputation.

the doctor shakes his head.
"tissue decays by wounds
untreated," he says. "loss was not
inevitable. it could have been saved."

the familiar throb of absence
prophesies against the word of this seer.

god was the absence that fueled your ache,
the holy ghost that haunted the space
between your radius and ulna.
the removal of this absence
evokes the same old sensations,
the same pangs of wild grief,
the same rattling in the bones.

you could not have been saved.
you are the member cut off
for the body's salvation,
the limb chopped at the wrist
lest the whole blessed body stumble into hell.
you are the riven hand groping in the dark
for the form of a choate body.

peace, my love, peace. 
quiet your sundered heart. 
seek not the wholeness
of a sutured corpse.

let the dead bury their dead.
you are not this piece of rotted flesh.

you are the ghost cells burning
in the imminent arm of the starfish,
the organic radiance of the cosmos
growing forever into itself.