My brother says this is how to fool
the ice—this is how to rinse
your wrists by the glaciers, each melting
under the pressure exerted by their own
weight—accumulation, ablation, fault.
He takes the plumed fish and peels back
the skin, unravels the spine, each slit along the fins
the same dashed lines of the furrowed diagrams
I slept with under the pillow. The liver he throws
to the jaegers, their wingstrokes cracking the air
along the soft underbelly of the sky.
The earbones, the respiratory system,
the matchstick bones he pinions under
the scalpel, counting the archways
of the white hollow the way he marked my height
on the doorframe of our Pennsylvanian pantry.
My brother orders his glaciers by shape. He files
his oceans by temperament. My brother holds
a stopwatch, then snaps the mercury thermometer
along the edge of the tank—the silvery
mouths of the metal corseting bone, threaded ribs
transcending Cambrian, Ordovician.
When our plane stumbles into flight,
my brother warms his breath by the furnace
under the lab’s slat-break roof, keeping us
inhabitants of this frigid, foreign land.