You cannot dig out the splinter.
Your side keeps flooding with blood,
it is below the ribs, angled up. 
And when light blisters on the wound
you can see clearly what it is:
at first you thought it was small,
but you always knew deep down
it was a bullet. You cannot dig it out.
Your hands do not reach deep enough
up to the elbow, slick inside you.
But you can nearly touch your heart, 
you could almost fold a fist around it. 
Feel it there, the bullet, how your heart wraps
around the metal like a pearl grows around 
a parasite, this silver shard, this wince.
You cannot dig it out. You learn to 
regenerate, grow back layers of wound
until the flesh is thick with purple scar tissue,
and the entrance wound is gauzed by skin.
You learn to live around the memory.
Your therapist shows you boxes
and labels them pain, surrounds them
with life. You do not make the pain smaller,
you build your life larger. The bullet
is still lodged inside. You build your life
larger. You feel it move sometimes,
rattling through the chambers of your heart.
You cannot dig it out. Months pass bitterly,
the memory clots only in quiet moments
as the bullet corrodes. You cannot dig it out.
Your life is large enough now to swallow it,
to take the pain with only a flinch. 
The bullet feels more like a splinter 
you no longer feel the need to dig out.