Maxine doesn’t only love men’s bodies. She wants to grasp the logic
of their internal organs. She craves blueprints, circuit diagrams,

sewing patterns. First time she saw Frankenstein she wasn’t afraid.
She wanted to know how the mad doctor did it,

where to get dead people parts, which graves were best
for culling, whether a whole family of ladybugs

could live inside those zombie bellies.
When the high school guidance counselor

asked the inevitable career question, she told her
all she really cared about was weaving back and forth

between the inner and outer life of people, what you could see,
what you couldn’t, writing down what she found there,

taking ideas apart and putting them back together
to make them more ecstatic.

So you want to be a mechanic?
In a way, she said, and left it at that.

Every winter solstice she watches surgery shows, goes to butcher shops,
rethinks people as composites, disparate shards blazed together by sheer will.

She has only to say unravel and her body will unwind before her,
unfurl like a curled hair come undone after the ravage.

So much about negative space can be learned
from snow angels, how she imprints slush with the shape

of where she was, then where she wasn’t. To dissolve the distinction
between inside and outside take a wrecking ball to a building.

Where do things go after they’re unmade: failed marriages,
the minds of the dead, old cells after replication?

Is there a holding place for disappeared things where people can reclaim
everything from nail clippings to abandoned children?

Because she can’t stand the thought of her love vanishing,
She keeps all her old boyfriends in a mason jar by the porch swing.

 

from Caroline Hagood’s book of poetry, Making Maxine’s Baby (Hanging Loose Press, 2015)

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CAROLINE HAGOOD’s first book of poetry, Lunatic Speaks, was published in 2012, and her second poetry book, Making Maxine’s Baby, a small press bestseller, came out in 2015 from Hanging Loose Press. Her writing has also appeared in The Kenyon Review, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Salon, and the Economist. She’s a Staff Blogger for the Kenyon Review, a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Fordham University, and she teaches creative writing at Barnard College. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

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