Open Hands and Silence

Poetry by someone who cannot write poetry.

April Showers

Laundry at three o’clock on a Monday afternoon and I think I feel the ocean you say is inside me
crash and part against my breakwater bones.
Outside, the light is silver with the Spring.
All the young flowers in the world can’t teach my tides to ebb and flow
to the will of anything but the caprices of my sorrow,
and you.
And you.
I wax and wane to love and an indifferent moon.
There are no windows where I am, but I think I hear
the old regret approaching.
It comes with the rain. Remember this:
The rain is a heart-breaker because it teaches us
that we can grow. Remember
how long the winter was.

The poets say that a heart can grow heavy with sorrow.

Too often, they leave it at that.

They don’t explain to you the mass—how it can bear you to the ground, crush the air from your lungs, leave you gasping, breaking, under the weight of the burdens that are not yours to bear. Too many. Too many. And you can’t lift them, these
black-hole hearts
of everyone you love.

But you feel the weight of them. The sky is too far away to reach.

The truth is, as Roxie said, I’m older now than I ever intended to be— but I’m still enough a child that I can’t stop asking “Why? Why?”

why

I’m still too small for this heart, this heavy heart that I have not yet grown into. The boy who can lift his father’s sword is a man; the man who can lift a sword but not his own heart is
my brother.
Every one of my battle scars is self-inflicted, every weight that bears my heart down belongs to someone else, and I
can only hope to grow.

They said I’d understand when I was older.

Tricks of the Light

Once a sunbeam spread its fingers, smiling,
and said, “Pick a number,”
so I said, “Zero” and I meant
“No”
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 a 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.

Amy:
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.

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

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

Amy:
Thank you. Thank you.

Cradlesongs

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
ashes
we all
fall
down

Dawn

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
still
rises,
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
breath

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 secured 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.

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