The search party’s joke goes, Nothing is lost
in these woods except virginity. Mine went missing
two days ago, disappeared hiking the Dakotas.
Shirtless, outside the mosquito nets hung
like wedding dresses, I examine the bites
on my chest. I test the skin’s eaten charisma.
The woods background like the self-help tapes
I have. Lunar landscapes are here again
on my dovelike face. The night is a foreign place
since I saw the part of it meant to open
opening, felt more familiar than famished, my lip
bit and swollen into a pregnant belly. A milk
of moonlight catches me curled like a sonogram.
I have not broken in or out its Adam’s apple.
Searchlights scratch out the things with eyes
on their wings. We all hope to find the body
right. When they do, they will ask if I am fine,
and I will ask what else I’m allowed to be.
Matthew Gilbert has poems forthcoming or recently published in PANK, Columbia Poetry Review, Apalachee Review, DEATH HUMS, and elsewhere. In 2009 he was selected as a member of the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. He received his MFA from Columbia University in 2012.