The Topic At Hand: Seconds


It is three in the morning
and all of the clocks are off by a tick.
My blood puddles warm as acid rain
and the ticks have banded together
to create an insomniac’s choir,
lulling me back to sleep.

I used to be good
at being alone. Every object
became a weapon in my hands.
This is how someone like me stays protected.
Empty liquor bottles quickly became
their own bloodthirsty grins,
the letter opener walked
with the moxy of a machete,
paper clips bent into acupuncture,
and pencils worked nights
as skewers. We were all living a double life.

When he wrote me a love letter
signed to The Softest Boy on Long Island,
I retired all my things. I didn’t need them.
I felt safe.

A single strand of dust now
hangs from my ceiling fan, threatening
to blemish the room’s polish.
His knuckles swarm my face,
stamping bone into baby powder.

I’m curled on the ground.
A caterpillar before
the stretch. I hear him scream
something about how I’m ruining
his favorite shirt. My favorite
books are tiled on the floor around me,
opened and wanting me to look at them.
I whisper something, but it sounds like nothing
more than bubbles, each plea
popping on my bottom lip

and the bottles faced the wall,
and the hotplate went cold,
and the crowd of pencils
merely pointed, and the stapler
watched with its mouth open.