Literary Orphans

Piece by Piece by Keith Welch

It started with my foreskin which

must have been a terrible embarrassment

whisked away as soon as I

was evicted from the womb


my dentist took a stern dislike

to my wisdom teeth and tore them

from my bleeding jaws no great loss


The gall bladder, turned traitor –

out it came, lumpy with stones

oozing green-black like some alien

B-Movie parasite, low-budget-laughable


A few teeth, gall bladder, four

grandparents, a father, a friend or two

we shed piece after piece

until memory becomes mist


wander unfamiliar chambers

searching for things on the tips

of our tongues, no longer

possessing names or shapes


O, take my organs but don’t let me lose

even the names of school bullies

who made my life a misery or that

first innocent kiss beside a swimming


pool in some long-forgotten back yard

her sun-lit body glistening with droplets

I not yet knowing shame or failure only

the love of my body and all that came with it.

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Keith Welch lives in Bloomington, Indiana where he works at the Indiana University Herman B Wells library. He has poems published in The Tipton Poetry Journal, Writers Resist, Dime Show Review, and Literary Orphans, among others. He enjoys making connections with other poets and invites everyone to follow him on Twitter at @Outraged_Poet. His website is

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–Art by¬†Steven Gray