The Wedding

The French woman who received the world’s first partial face transplant has complete feeling in the new tissue five months after the operation, she told a Sunday newspaper. Isabelle Dinoire, 38, also told the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that the hardest part of her recovery appears to be getting to know herself again. When asked if she has accepted her new face, she responded: “It’s too difficult to explain.” — Associated Press

1. Prince Charming

A bad week. She swallowed
pills, eight
little erasers

& while she lay on
the floor with her mind
elsewhere, the golden Lab

brought his famished
tongue across her face.
Unclipped toe-

nails click
on the cold linoleum
as the dog goes

to his bed, comes back
for another lick, & finally begins
to nibble.

He starts with the lips,
like any faithful lover.
That faint half-smile.

2. Mirror, mirror

The only mirror she kept
in her apartment
lies face-down when not in use.

Every day she checks
a small flag of skin that
the doctors implanted

right above her navel: white
or gray would signal
surrender. Every day

when she pulls up
her blouse, she feels
something turn over inside,

some phantom embryo
forming without nose
or chin, the mouth

a permanent wound
no lips can ever hope
to zipper shut.

3. Cinderella story

The organ
donor’s face comes
slowly back to life.

Too young
to have had laugh lines
or crows’ feet,

it was smooth
& as firm at first
as a glass slipper.

Now, after
the delicate diplomacy
of scalpel and suture,

the awkward wedding over,
it slowly fills
once again with feeling,

in the heat
of an unfamiliar dance.