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See, when you’re this close to shattering, you sew

yourself together and call it love. Only as weak

as your weakest seam, you punch the steel

through skin again because really, you wanted

to unravel. You hem your words back

into your throat and double up the thread

until what echoes back when you sing

to the crows is a tune that infests your bones.

You can dance to this tune and call it holy

and mistake the rain for threads of its own.

You can pray to spiraling birds, spiraling stitches,

spiraling feet in mud and home, because you’re told

God is in everything, even the echoes, but your ears

are double-stitched, for how better to tightly hold

in the scraping tenor of the crows? In the black flashes

of their feathers you see water, earth, and the fire

of alone. Even your eyes are a quilted patchwork of

dying embers and undying hurt, or so said the liar

who loosened the cold ribbons of your hair, precious

as Rumpelstiltskin’s straw, but not his gold.

Your blood is sacred, scarlet thread, your skin is silk

drawn tight, so of course you dance on rain-bruised stones

and tell everyone you’re all right. After all, you saw God

tonight in rain, stitches, and the harsh honesty of crows,

and placed every ounce of love for yourself into needles

and dancing bones.

This poem won the Ekphrastic Challenge and was published in Issue XX by High Shelf Press, July 2020


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