This past summer my uncle drank himself into a corpse. His blankets were soaked with hospital
smell—air-conditioner flavored. Uncle Kent’s feet pressed the blanket, straining against its loose
membrane to breach out and join us. I prayed their toothy noses couldn’t break the shell.
Every good piece of writing is some David-Foster-Wallace-esque tragedy that folds sharply in
your throat. Sharp as that first stony breath you took when you were born. The breath you forgot
was your first trauma. It was oddly coffined shaped, wasn’t it?
We were huddled around him. They'd removed his respirator. Hand on the tube, the doctor
asked us to wait outside so we wouldn’t see how similar it was to unhooking a fish on the pier.
On Martha’s Vineyard, a fish loses its name once it stops thrashing. Bass, cod, bluefin, dogfish.
They’re all just swaths of flesh to hunch over, descale. It’s a good way to practice surgery,
cutting them collar to toes and opening them up. They’re like God’s bargain anatomy book.
about the writer
Woody Woodger is an MFA candidate at Wester Washington University. His first chapbook, postcards from glasshouse drive, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. His poetry and essays have appeared in Exposition Review, Barely South, Rock and Sling, and on Mass Poetry Festival among others. He’s currently forthcoming in 2 Bridges Review and wherewithal, among others.