After the offending bit is popped out
these tiny stitches on your neck

are exquisite. Lips of the slit
don't speak the way you think they should,

break into stupid song, blow kisses
at the doctor. Some piece

that kept insisting on itself
will spend a few weeks in a jar on holiday

with strangers, stained and diced
and separated neatly

from its secrets. You can only
wait, reading your book about the sex

lives of the saints, the lance
that pierced and then pulled slowly out

of Saint Teresa's heart. A slice
is venerated in Milan, they say, an arm

in Lisbon, a single breast in Rome;
but her heart's enthroned

behind the convent walls at Avila. Pink
under glass, it wears a tiny crown. 

first appeared in Boulevard



There are two Elvis Presleys in the Social Security Death 
Master File (DCEASE). The King's social security number is 
409-52-2002. His death benefits zip code is 38116, aka 
Memphis, TN (so little Lisa Marie won't be forced to sell 
matchsticks on Elvis Presley Boulevard in that city, or marry 
Michael Jackson for anything but Love). EP #1 was born 
1/8/35 and died 8/00/77. No matter how many mourners come 
to Graceland on August 16, the Social Security Death Master 
File will remain benignly ignorant and democratic. It will 
always record that EP #1 died on the 00 day of the month, just 
like everybody else.

Just like his namesake, Elvis Presley #2. Who was this guy? 
We can confabulate something of his mother's state of mind 
from his date of birth, 10/24/57, after EP #1 left for 
Hollywood but before he went into the army. Other than that 
all we know is that 425-11-0453 died 4/00/87, not quite thirty, 
in Nettleton, MS. No death benefits zip code is listed. Ten 
years after EP #1 was buried, EP #2 apparently died without 

I am stumbling around in the electronic graveyard for another 
reason, actually. I am looking for a missing uncle, my 
grandfather's first son from a marriage he wished forgotten. 
The only picture I have of him is photocopied from a book in 
the Newberry Library in Chicago. I have the same book at 
home, but the page with my uncle's photograph is torn out, 

I can't find him, though, under any of his six possible names. I 
do kick over another stone, and immediately wish I hadn't: the 
very daft and ravishing Christina Montemora, born 12/12/48, 
died 11/00/87, zip code of last residence 12401. Somehow I 
did know that I would find you, obvious Ophelia of my 
derelict years, though still hoping that this search would bring 
up NO DOCUMENTS. Your name, the few clues you leave 
behind, float like a reproach in the amber-colored letters on 
the black screen. 

first appeared in New American Writing