‘Everything is so tiny,’
I whispered. I wanted to let
you know why I was treating
you so delicately.
I was afraid that a touch, an
interaction could break you
like a porcelain doll
(sitting on my grandmother’s shelf in my memory);
already on your left cheek I can see
you don’t deserve any imperfections, and I know
that eventually I will be careless
and you’ll hit the cement sidewalk like a feather
gliding, the air cradling you
as if fate didn’t want to let you go so soon
(they always go too soon). A year ago you told me,
‘I promise I’ll be different,’
but the unease
has never left me.
At least now I know any distance between us
is my own doing, not his. (My fear strung into manipulation
while you lie in bed reminiscing
and lie to me that I can mean anything
when I know he has never left your mind,
even under the sheets).
Perhaps I will burn off my own hands,
let the ashes fall off the ends like sticks of incense
while you watch the smoke curl to the ceiling, suffocating.
That way you can’t be
threatened by my trembling hands anymore
(I never saw a blanket used as a shield before).
I looked in the mirror when you left,
stared at my image and whispered,
'I am so tiny.’
— the creases in my hands look like valleys , h.s.