What can it mean
to be filled with sawdust?

like an antiquated shop-dummy
from Jean Rhys's Paris
with satin skin, silk hair
and a sawdust heart?

Does it come of anxiety
like being naked in public
(having forgotten one's lines)

to be naked on the inside,
brainless like the strawman
heartless, soulless
wooden as Pinocchio
though clothed in fabulous skin?

Sawdust falls from the circular saw
slicing a forest to dice.
Sawdust heaped on the butcher's floor
soaks up a mess of blood.

The optimistic surgeon wields his knife.
'Be healed!' he cries, seeking a human organ.
Spectators enter the theatre.
He murmurs, 'Hush!'

O don't disappoint him.
Yield him the very nerve-knot
that triggers your beating heart.