You and the World

by Sophia Kumin (’13)                             Picture 42
From the Sarah Fontaine Unit

with a hard sound
you were rolling out into the black
rolling your fist, you a fleshy thing
you, rounder and newer
and greener

when you were a little older, a little better, a little bluer
you said you wanted to learn everything there was
but then you found
the parts that hurt to know
you wish you hadn’t stumbled upon
the vicious hands, the ache

you didn’t realize pain came in different forms
sometimes blinding and white hot
sometimes creeping up like the night does
sometimes wrapped in echoing laughter
but always with new porous holes to fill

Jupiter is bigger but
Saturn has rings of protection
just like you have
layers you hide under, fragments of shell you glued together

under every rock is something living and that is where
I found you

you are always by yourself
alone in sharp places, all slicing and edges
and you swim between the breaths of strangers
soaking in all the perspiration
not quite standing not quite sinking
and you hear everything
beating between your legs
telling you what you always knew

here is what you knew:
• it was funny at first
• it hurt
• it hurt
• oh god, it hurt
• you didn’t remember

you remembered:
“can I”

hot hands and cold bodies
falling like you were in the black again
crushed and vaporized and sound proof
bitter and something
like a tingling water rushing over your eyes

you said you wanted to know everything but
you never meant it like you mean it now
opening yourself like a scar to the alcoholic sky
bleeding out the things you never said
or meant to say
or meant to think
or never meant at all
and it stings and you can’t decide if it’s good or bad

you thought you would get stronger but it only got worse
the small rocks in your pockets
dragging you and drowning you in
shaded eyes, pretending not to notice
pretending, pretending only gets you so far
far enough away

is it warmer, out there? out by yourself
where you always were
now with a more ringing sense of urgency in your ears
with a more meaty memory
spread out like a skin
blood speckled and drying on the line

your face is imprinted in the moon
an ashy residue coating the stars, lined up in your favorite constellations
you’re a celestial sort of smile in the pitch black
hurtling toward some sort of
some sort of forgiveness you couldn’t attain
in the same place everyone else could

rather, dancing with the minnows
hair caught in your mouth
leaping arms reaching toward the hot heartbeat
fingertips grazing the surface of everything all at once.

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