I only have two hands :: SOTD

hiddenwaters

Keep Art Alive :: “Hidden Waters” :: Art by Kelly Vivanco

“And when the lights go out,
I pick the angel up.”

When the call came

it rushed in like a slap,
a sting of memory,
cold and cunning,
shocking me awake.

I could see him there,
standing near me on our
Eve of Change,
that’s what we’d called it,
hands-holding a contract,
with space at the bottom,
for each of our names.

I wanted to say “I don’t”,
whisper it into the scent of him,
as his arms coiled around me.

But his eyes held mine,
weaving our fingers,
stitching an X across my chest,
into a patch-worked foreshadowing,
sewing all my doubts into one.

I closed my hands tightly,
praying for each thread to hold,
repeating these words:

Let’s stay here awhile
in this stillness
let it make me sane
let it keep him clean

let each worse
become better

He stood there,
on that bridge,
staring down into the darkness.
Knocking stones,
flicking ash,
toppling empty bottles over,
watching each one fall.

My cried-out yes,
talked him from the ledge,
as I promised,
everything:
To hold the trigger,
cocked and loaded,
to be his lethal injection.

I vowed it.
Wearing blue to his grey
by a sea of
prying eyes.
Swearing,
to turn all the beauty
into splatter and stain.
If that’s what he wanted,
someday.

I never could though.
No –
I didn’t mean a god-damn word.

But it sat there between us,
a poison he kept sipping,
a magic meant to whisper
to all our screams.

It became all that he wanted,
an ink-stained ending,
his pen-pricking every page,
like that first hole stuck in his arm.

No one was saved,
only one surviving,
as we turned into fireworks
exploding brilliant
in the sky.

Dissipating fast,
crashing into buildings,
bid behind the crying clouds.
We fell reckless into bent
tree branches,
taking them with us as we fell.

When that call came
I blamed him for everything:

For my insides
rotted with age.
For the blood-loss that dripped
down my legs,
that heartbreak in a hospital parking lot,
that you left me at.
For my misspent youth,
and this cold disregard.

I crawled across our Living room,
out into a late September sun,
hands splaying on concrete,
burning blisters into each palm,
as I tried to find him in the cracks.

He was nothing now but thistle-down wishes,
blown from a Santa Ana wind,
turning to ash.

And all those breaths I’d held,
they turned to exhale,
as I became a poet’s final stanza,
listening as the chorus sang through the receiver:

Never fall in love with a writer.
Never believe in mix-taped promises.
Never answer the phone.

Me & My Charms :: Kristin Hersh

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