My Husband, Lost in the Wild

He said he buried
his right eye in South Georgia — 

on a dare, he said,
when he was little, beneath

one green ash of two
that mark the end of a road

whose name he’s
by now forgotten: Lonesome

something, maybe Dog
or Cricket. He said

he couldn’t love me, not
really, not without

his old right eye,
and anyway he’d left

his tongue as a tip
slid under a mug

at a small North Florida diner,
would collect it too

along the way, seeing
as he’d asked the server

to save it, and she had kindly
agreed. Three of his ribs

were further gone — one in Wisconsin,
where he’d planted it like a tree

though he believed even then
nothing would bloom on it.

Another he pawned in Manitoba
for a silver bracelet,

which he wore only
when he was very sad,

and his last rib
he’d been keeping

in a safe deposit box
in a credit union

on the alien Oregon coast
where he’d visit sometimes,

stopping often at vantages
to take in expanses of pines

covered in moss
and something else, like brine,

and the pines were tall,
tall and uncommunicating,

as if they had been designed
only to listen. His ears

he’d left with me,
I told them

everything — words
I had invented for the color

of new moons, city names
I had given to four slender

ant colonies that had since
emerged on the lawn.

I told the ears Come back to me,
but they were unable to

relay these types of things,
and anyway there was nothing

else to do. I took all
my littlest veins

and pitched them
as a woven tightrope

out of the kitchen window
and hooked, with

a makeshift grapple, the cheek
of the visible moon, which

carried me away, and I was sorry
to have wounded it like that

and I was sorry to be carried
by what I had wounded.

More Poems by Jayme Ringleb