Ella Flores

Instructions for Potentiality


In a skeleton of a building
that doesn’t yet resemble a hospital, 

you scrub the bloody urine and pus
off cot linens. Wall-less rooms

shudder for use. You attend the wounds
of the dying town, work quickly to stop

its bleeding––hemophilic, profuse––
you can’t stop the stream of midnight

headlights. The roundabouts
full of autumn and hydroplane


A winter light nervous system strung across
downtown helps me    check your vital signs, realign
your vertebrae,                        unpuncture your spleen.

With one hand I wipe the gravel         off your eyelids.
With the other, hold your liver, feel its tender
cirrhosis. Your crushed limbs sew my fingers

back onto their knuckles.        Your teeth embroider
back together the lengths of my arms––and when your eyes ask
if you can press my toes to your lips, I say nothing


and let it happen. And here is all this happen––poorly postured
mountains overlooking a seasonally-depressed lake––how you take my hand
on a seat of a metro, unzip your jeans with the other, keep your eyes fixed
ahead as you guide my fingers down and down, and no one sees the bomb
but you. Except you don’t know it’s a bomb. It’s in the shape of a child.
And when it goes off, the station reels. The blue above blooms with metal
and human, all fireworked,     all calm,          all cloud curl.             


Here’s how you/          I/          no one survived.


Ella Flores is an MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University and is an associate poetry editor for Passages North. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Radar Poetry, RHINO Poetry, Plume Poetry and Hayden's Ferry Review.