Poems that Hurt

February 24, 2021
a view of feet in flip-flops, looking down at them from above
Art by Kim Salac


Cher Ami

For heaven’s sake, they used your home against you.

They call it magnetoreception. 

Magnets make it better.


They called you a man, and it made it okay. 

You lost your leg, eye, and chest,

And then they stuffed you. 


I want to see you, but I also I don’t.

I’m sorry they stuffed you. 

Observations at the Hospital

You wear flip-flops as your father dies.

I hear you flop down the halls

as I relieve you to go watch.

It is in this moment, however,

that I realize we do share something:

a toe.


The girls do not care, and that is comforting

because I do not either.

We talk of schools and homes and mothers,

but we do not talk of the man that

has been scraped inwardly to death.


At one point, I had been angry.

Not because of the scraping, but

because one got to live and the other didn’t,

but now they are both gone, so the score is even.


For ever it will play in my mind

how I learned what the word “pervert” meant. 

And how he applied it.


I think of the cold Confederate ring on the cold finger

and grin. 


But as you flip-flop down the hall, you don’t know of this.


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