Janine Joseph


Supposed to sound nothing like this, my body emits
            a soft roaring. My biceps, quiet, are what the doctor likes

                        when she pushes the needle in. Listen, she says.
            Now listen, she says and stabs the back of my neck. This

is the sound of your injury. She pulls out and puts the needle back
            in my arm and it hurts. The nerves in my fingers blow out

                        like firecrackers, but the oscilloscope and its speakers
            remain noiseless. I say ouch, but it doesn’t count. Again she digs

into my trapezius and the warble she says is bad. She holds
            steady and asks do I hear the difference. The signal I pick up

                        is a hot spring, a wash of chili and vinegar over roasting pig.
            The left of my neck is the softest hum and she pricks it twice

so we have it clear. Right there, she says, my muscles so loud
            it sops my body’s bunch of green mangoes in shrimp paste.

                        On her watch she says I’ll be on my feet soon enough.
            She is so wrong. My tissues are tuning brown sugar spread

over butter, tapping red salted eggs against a table. They are fishermen
            hauling me like a 13-foot-long megamouth shark

                        up the coast, simmering me in coconut milk—
            knowing their discovery is rare.