through a glassyou—you've lived in mirrors all your life. yes, you. you know who you are.More Like This
in dirty stalls on public playgrounds you lived in mirrors while your gap-teeth grinned
against the glass. you held the ones you couldn’t keep, you hated everyone
who tried to look you in the eye, back then, stooping down to your level
and telling you how to be happy with their switch-gashed smiles filled with dirty bone.
you hated them because your mouth? your mouth was full of nothing, and none of them ever cared
that you were getting chased by hornets to impress the kids who called you “retard” to your face
while your gap-teeth set in little lines, you gave them exactly what they wanted
and you wondered why you never had anything to say when it mattered the most.
in the dog days of after-school you lived in mirrors while the blood ran down your thighs,
after a chance encounter with a near stranger left you shocked awake and drinking water
from the bathroom sink and bettin
dumb.i heard it first when i was four. the sentence—death sentence—what set meMore Like This
to shaping silence in my space to prove you wrong, when you asked:
"don't you know how dumb you sound?"
even now i carry the muscle memory. my teeth touched, my lips bit,
my mouth shut. inside me i kept myself, sitting shivah while the gibberish got clogged up
where teachers and toothpicks dared not tread. because of course i hadn't known,
and of course i would learn nothing, come monday morning
with me all full of weekend words, the problem
just kept getting worse. you all laughed then—as you would laugh now
—and the cycle began again.
for that was the echo i was doomed to repeat, you see, i had a mouth on me
like an oil spill, a voice that bent me backwards on the good days
and broke me open on the bad. it was my fault, of course, that my words were wired all weird,
so illegible i had to cut the edges off my teeth for anyone to listen. the syllables
just flew right through
i am.running is easy when you've got nothing left to lose. i've lost everythingMore Like This
—even my own name. as taken with my lacking as i am, i weave
even between the eaves of a forest that scatters its angles to the night,
where desperation compels me to fill the hole in my whole self
with whatever i can scavenge that will guard me.
so i snap a tree branch free to lance at phantoms; weighing my sword arm
down out of its socket, carving my history behind me in the drifter's dirt,
with my thumb and forefinger cutting into the jag of bark like bone,
scrambling in stitches for a trigger on a lifeline that is not a gun—
…i come up empty. the breaking is like breathing, a gouge in the sea with the shiv
of ten times i almost drowned on scenic beaches,
fixed to parry in my hand against some invisible enemy, i am steeped
in the anonymity. the anonymity of my
and just when i think that i've got nothing left to lose, i lose my balance.
miles and inches from where i've fallen, the d