Things I’ve Learned, A Mouthful of Blood, A Fluttering

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Issue Seventeen, Poetry

Things I’ve Learned

There’s a   softness   to the        edges 

of me—I am both the blood and the gauze, 

the bone-

                 break and the re-setting.

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I watch as I cause and close 

your wounds with frantic fingers,

I                  reach for you 

while 

                        pulling away. 

A Mouthful of Blood

I’m walking in the late afternoon, feeling 

the tall grasses brush my thighs. Stained violet 

with snapdragons, the hills remind me of the day 

you got drunk, fell, and bit your lip–almost clean through. 

The blood pooled, deep purple spreading into the corners 

of your mouth and I took you home, dusted off 

a bottle of cheap rum—to numb your mouth,

to warm our throats. Tonight, I bend down to feel 

the snapdragon mouths open and close under the pressure

of my fingers, and the taste of iron floods my tongue.

A Fluttering

I had seen birth and death but had thought

they were different.

-T.S. Eliot

We side-stepped peaches half-buried in dirt

while you told me about the sparrows

that nested in your backyard last spring.

How one morning, you found one fallen,

its smallness outlined in your palm,

bones still malleable, matted in dark blood.  

I stared at your hands twitching towards mine,

imagining tiny feathers falling from your fingertips,

while the smell of spoiled fruit filled the air.

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