A word used by the surgeon in a postoperative letter to me
to describe my insides.
I squinted at it, breathed out heavily.

The soil crumbled beautifully between the prongs of the fork.
The smell of damp decay rising gently to my nostrils
‘You must be able to grow great carrots here’
I said
‘The soil’s so loose and light’

Anger and confusion washed over me as I read the word. The bleached paper
ugly between my fingers,
‘What exactly does friable mean?’ I had asked my father at the breakfast table.
He looked over his broadsheet, glanced at the ceiling.
‘Sort of disintegrative matter. Falls apart easily’ he had replied.

My pale bare hands squeezed the clods of earth, broke up the chunks,
earthworms squirmed in the cool ground.
I shovel and shake the dark peat atop,
enriching the plot, nourishing the old.

Not a word
for the hot red of my innards
where tendons and connective tissue lie, taught
like the skin on a tambourine.
slowly falling apart.

Or am I more organic matter?
Lying between the turf and the clay, let me be.
I reclaim the word.
I am friable
the earth is me.