Phantom pain is real, the doctors say.
Watch her wince, watch him tremble.
See the limbs, where they end, where
He begins, where she leaves off.
He drums fingers on the table, she
Sets her mouth straight and hard.
He narrows eyes, she sighs and sighs.
Nurse, take their pulse. Note:
He is her phantom; she is his pain.
Long ago, when they were new, they sat
In a restaurant, near a woman old, alone,
With nothing to do but switch her gaze
From him, to her, to him, back, forth, back.
She shook her head, pronounced them dead.
Still, they knew what they knew, as they
Know what they know. So they shook her off,
Tossing her about like remnant drops of rain.
Now, clutching their stumps, they press on,
Massaging their sores, imagining relief.
Within, the phantoms groan and twitch,
Restless, rumbling as they gather darkly.