My Chiropractor Gives Me a Name
for what’s the matter: the white
stack of vertebrae curving in
reverse in my neck in the revelatory film.
I massage my misery but cannot see
the error in what she touches
on the negative, distracted as I am
by the sight of the illuminated
petroglyphs bucking beneath my
occipital bone. We can correct this,
she says—and she twice does
so fast I do not remember closing,
on the drop table, my eyes. On my back,
low tide and stray stars suddenly after
a decade, then her voice pooling
clear in my ears. She by the light
box where my spine lingers lets me
heave an Oh! when I side-by-side see
a healthy neck against mine and see—
see my nape as held by the wreck. Oh!
she leans in her study of what of my body
the rays traveled accidentally: my costal
cartilage long calcified, skeleton a lantern
framing the air rendered black. I put my face
in the reflection.
Photograph of Janine Joseph by Jaclyn Heward.