There must be a reason why the
heart is a fist wrapped in blood.
Why it is both tenderness
and violence. Life-giving
There must be a reason why
women beat their fists against their chests
in grief. Why we instinctively connect the two
as if our bodies were subconsciously
acting on primitive memory:
If I beat myself where it hurts the most,
will this feeling leave? Can we shake
the organ behind the bones enough to
On average, a heart pumps 1.3 gallons
of blood per minute. 48 million gallons
by the time we’re 70. It doesn’t have
the strength to pretend to be strong
or built from bone.
It revives and re-hurts with
mere precursors of memory -
a glimpse of a picture, a song sung
together in an empty room,
a lost bobby pin, a half-eaten
bagel, the same cold air touching
the same old skin.
But this is probably why
we raise arms against others,
push guns against their backs,
connect phalanges to cheekbones.
It is the first rule of vulnerability -
pretend to be otherwise. Pretend
that the blood coating your thin skin
is not your own bleeding.
Close a hand into a fist, feel the nails
dig into your palms. See this
unblemished reflection of your heart.
Was the body designed to warn us,
of how it was bound to batter
and pound us?
Closed, it will always be an image
of violence. An image of pain.
It took so much for us to open our palms,
and be gentle with ourselves when
hurt came. To lay our hands softly, with
our fingers flowering across our chest.
To weep without wanting to
kill what was beneath.
So get thee behind me blindness
and come to me quietly light.
Our god loves people like poems,
loves poems like prayers,
and loves prayers even when they are silent.
We pray until our words run out,
What To Do When Your Boyfriend’s Asshole Best Friend Says, “Hey, Never Trust Anything That Bleeds For Seven Days And Doesn’t Die,
OR The Only Poem I’ll Ever Write About Periods.
Don’t excuse him because he’s had
at least three lite beers
and is sweating through his black button down
that his mom or exgirlfriend
probably bought him.
Don’t excuse him because he’s been turned down
by the last six girls he went on dates with
after meeting them on tindr
with a picture that’s seven years old
Don’t excuse him because
he’s usually such a nice guy
because you don’t want to be a bitch
because you don’t want to cause a scene
because when you were seventeen
your sister told you
no one likes an angry feminist
Let me explain something to you.
Every goddamn motherfucking month since I was eleven,
a part of me
tore itself to shreds
ripped itself apart inside me
and then remade itself.
So yes, I bleed for seven days
and I don’t die
You know what else can do that?
Things of legend.
Fuck, I can even
So I say, never trust anything that can’t
bleed for seven days and not die.
You know what that makes it?
So let’s see, hon,
What you’re made of.
If you can bleed for seven days
and not die.
Rip out his jugular with your teeth.
And when he bleeds for seven seconds
spit on his corpse and say,
I thought not.
The Problem with Becoming Widely Aware of Us Just Before Sleep
i hunt for things you do not know
like what your eyelashes look like
when you close your eyes, a secret
i haven’t confessed up until now, saved
like the baby teeth brittling in a box pushed
to the back of a drawer in our tallest bureau,
your breaths end like autumn, abrupt, blunt,
like the continents i could plant between us
some nights, the ocean of our bed sheets
reflecting our freckles, connect-the-dot
constellations always there to pull us
do you remember discovering your heartbeat
for the first time as a child?
Amanda Oaks, from bentlily (July 4, 2012)