Open Hands and Silence

Poetry by someone who cannot write poetry.

Tricks of the Light

Once a sunbeam spread its fingers, smiling,
and said, “Pick a number,”
so I said, “Zero” and I meant
and the sun said “Wrong,”
and went out.

Once a switched on the light and the light said,
“I bet you can’t saw a lady in half,”
so I said, “I bet I can,”
and I smashed the light bulb and found my lovely assistant
and it was me
but no one came to the show.

Once I caught my reflection off guard
in a window and an afternoon,
and I said, “Oh, I see why you love me,”
because it made sense
but it was only a trick of the light.
It was only a trick of the light.

Texts to People Whose Numbers I Haven’t Deleted Yet

Riley Finn:
Fuck you. I hope you’re okay.

It got worse after it got better. I’m kind of glad you weren’t around to see that.

Mickey Mouse:
If I ever drift so far from my determined course as to get myself a gun, it will be for the purpose of killing you.

The Marquis de Carabas:
About hanging out– I don’t think things are ever not going to be weird between us. Sorry.

Winter Bird:
I clung to you during one of the summer storms and I hope you don’t know I was drowning.

I kind of wonder whether I cross your mind the way you cross mine.

Have you graduated Ninja School yet? I miss you, btw.

Thank you. Thank you.


Lavender’s blue, dilly-dilly
lavender’s green
I’ll never be king
but if I was
if I was
you’d have everything, heart, but tonight I’m alone
and now
I lay me down to sleep
and pray the lord my only prayer: please god don’t let me break tonight
And if I die before I wake
it will have been from wanting
If I die before I wake
then cut off this tale with a carving knife
It was never meant to end like this
when I look at my hands
and all I see
are ashes
we all


There are no words to tell
what words can do,
but every time I hear your name,
every aching night,
every time the siege breaks,
the last one falls,
when the world
ends and the sun
I stand corrected.
With my heart in my hands
and morning in my eyes,
I stand corrected beside you.

Sometimes it hurts
Sometimes it’s beautiful
Sometimes it’s the beauty that hurts
The days grow longer and sometimes we hold our

Say this out loud:
It’s okay

10:32 PM

I look at scars on my body the same way I look at instruments in pawn shops:
‘what a waste, what a waste, what a waste
didn’t someone love this once’
Other kids my age (“you’re still just a kid”)
are going out and getting wasted and I’m wasting my time in emergency rooms with my arms open in all the wrong ways
waiting for someone to come glue me back together and reminding myself that there is nothing beautiful
about wasting away. Darling you’ve got to eat

Everyone around me seems to be shattering and I’m fraying at the seams,
but I’m so tired of writing poems about decay.
My words are not supposed
to be grasping fingers reaching into
the rotten heart of you reminding you you hurt like I do because you
are way more than your pain,
and I’m not trying to cause more damage here.
I’m trying to be light leaking through the cracks.

This is less like a poem and more like a prayer to everything we could be,
because I skip the confessional and go straight to the hail-Marys;
we know it’s all my fault.
This is just to say that maybe you deserve more,
but maybe I deserve more,
and all I know is I’m counting the days– but up, and not down.
Let’s throw out the countdowns and say blastoff is canceled;
they say spread your wings and fly but there’s still way more here
on earth.

A Love Letter

every street is a page
on which poetry is written by the footprints of people
with faces that are universes I am lost in
I am lost in your veins
in love every moment and hanging on every word
even the unspoken ones
even the wind

I am not your savior

1. Because the last pair of sandals I wore gave me blisters.
2. Because “I forgive you” on my lips sounds like a sob.
3. Because my father is neither divine nor a carpenter, nor would I die if he told me to.
4. Because my touch can’t heal, and I’ve tried, darling. I’ve tried.
5. Because once you’ve nailed your own feet and one of your hands to the cross, there’s no way to pound in the last nail.
6. Because I am not enough.
7. Because when you kill me, I’ll stay dead.
8. ‘When,’ not ‘if.’
9. Because I am not enough.
10. Because you don’t need one. Look at you, darling.
You don’t need one.

Sword Swallowers

When you toss all night
cracking dreams between your teeth like nuts and wake up
with the inside of your cheek bloody
so your words taste like metal and you’re afraid
to let them out
for fear of whom they’ll cut so you turn them
on your tongue
since metal, after all, is how this started
used to sharp edges as you are
you are more
are more
So kiss me with your razor-blade lips and I’ll swallow the lot
to open my throat from the inside because I know, my dear
I know
what you dreamed
before the fall

In the Dark Hour

Here there’s a room full
of candles you didn’t light
and didn’t curse the darkness. Instead
you blew out the one that you held
and cursed your breath,
and for that I am sorry.
Maybe you’re here on the floor
licking wax off your fingers to mend
the cracks in your voice when the only thing that burns
is the cold that won’t answer your
“tell me this counts for something–”
But maybe you’re here with me,
and maybe you take my hand,
and one of us whispers, “It does. It does. It does.”


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