stitch beneath my skin, the veins underneath my fingertips—
need sowing back together again. the blood runs cold,
too far from home, and all of the rivers start to look like oceans.

build me a bridge out of thread, a life raft, life jacket,
anything to traverse the stream, anything to traverse the ocean,
anything to keep me open—

anything to keep the water flowing through me.
I don’t want to be thinking of drowning
but i’m thinking of drowning— out the sound of your
voice over the phone— just so i don’t
have to hear the goodbye— thinking of drowning—
out the tug of the tether
pulled tight
around me;
breathing feels difficult lately.

stitch me in

to a picture, of a place better than this— the thread is copper,
gold, shimmery, tinsel on a christmas tree— thread
me back through the loop, put me up on the mantelpiece, stitched into the photograph, threaded around your fingertips, while you sit,
muttering, working, whispering
words i do not need to hear to know.
familiarity.

family. something more than that.
something where the tether still feels slack, no matter how far the distance is—
you are right near me— we are right near me— we are
right at the bottom of this ocean together, and the waves are just passing over us,
because you stitched a glass dome in to keep us covered.

pull the thread back through me, onto glossy laminate print.
put some red into my cheeks. make a smile that shows teeth.
make me someone i want to be. someone who doesn’t know what the word lost is. someone who smiles when they start to bleed, because it reminds me,
of the prick of your needle and thread, against my fingertips.

it’s easier like this. i used to think—
not knowing what distance is, not knowing how things
start to pull and push and fray and tumble
not knowing where the blood goes when it starts to sink
because i am sinking, watching water wash over me
poppy stained aquamarine, looking for gold thread shimmering;
looking for bright red stitched into a sepia photograph—
not looking for me, but really just looking for anything.
so let me in.
stitch beneath my skin, the veins underneath my fingertips—
need sowing back together again. the blood runs cold,
too far from home, and all of the rivers start to look like oceans.

build yourself a bridge out of thread, a life raft, life jacket,
anything to traverse the stream, anything to traverse the ocean,
anything to keep me hoping—

that the journey might not be so bad,
when we look to what’s left
and find ourselves perfectly kept
preserved in a jar,
in a box of photographs,
with the thread on the lid pulled tightly.


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