They stapled his eyes open and saw nothing
but an empty beach. I wanted to dig my hands
deep through that sand, pull out two crescent moons
or a plastic gun. They said his heart was a dead car
battery. Each of their latex gloves blue as ambulance
sirens over his chest cavity. After awhile they said
amphetamines. I can’t remember who held the needle
but earlier at the house I watched him take metal to skin
as if pleasure were a hundred endangered doves
plumed in his veins. I saw neon suns explode
over an undiscovered ocean. There is a way
to love char as texture, to know you will never shower
the same again. They said or didn’t say but I heard
that his brain activity was still crisp static, midnight
lights lining a pinball machine. That night I broke
my television like a bag of ice on the kitchen
floor and drove unfathomable swords into my own quiet
electricity. When they placed the unfamiliar tools
back on the clean rack, white towel still
white, they said nothing else. It sounded like sorry
or finally, a brass cartridge shell full with powder.

Philip Schaefer's collaborative chapbook Smoke Tones is forthcoming from Phantom Limb and his poems are out or forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, RHINO, Interim, The National Poetry Review, Pacifica, Toad, NightBlock, The Boiler and elsewhere. He's a recent graduate of the University of Montana's MFA program, where he tends bar for the craft distillery in Missoula.