Moveable Parts

Suzanne Buffam is the author of two collections of poetry, Past Imperfect, which won...


He worries that his wife has her mother’s hypochondria.
She worries that she has her mother’s rheumatoid arthritis.
They worry that her father has his father’s sclerotic arteries.
She worries that her husband has his great uncle’s spleen.
They worry that his sister has her cousin’s impetigo. He
worries that his son has his wife’s fibromyalgia. They
worry that her mother has her aunt in Toledo’s chronic
fatigue. She worries that her niece has her sister’s bad
dreams. He worries that his son has his in-law’s tourettes.
She worries about that too. She worries that her nephew
has his drag-racing great-uncle’s oversized glands. She
worries that her cousin has her step-father’s cold hands. He
worries that his daughter has her Mennonite grandfather’s
resistance to the pertussis vaccine. They worry that her
chain-smoking aunt has her unmarried brother’s ex-
girlfriend’s fiancé’s TB. She worries that her husband’s
best friend’s older brother’s young son has his uncle’s
predilection for cheap lingerie. He worries that his
roommate from college has his father’s weak grasp of
empirical facts. They worry that his aunt in Lloydminster’s
ex-boyfriend’s grown son has his father’s contempt for the
laws of consanguinity. They worry that their
new downstairs neighbors have their old neighbors’ love of
Italian reality TV. They worry that his step-cousin’s
vengeful third husband has his first wife’s second
husband’s third son’s HIV. He worries that his wife has
her father’s bad eye for art. She worries that she has her
mother’s heart.