Read by Brenna Christensen ’17
This morning apologies were falling
from the trees and the apples
were being ignored.
There’s a chapter in our lives
where I tried to shred pages,
where I tried to rewrite the tale.
Let’s call that chapter, The Numbness,
or The Boredom, or the place where we forgot
we were alive.
That morning I woke up and wandered outside
onto the backtrail,
past the No Trespassing sign into the arms
of an evergreen or a black bear. It didn’t matter
who held me then; I was moss, the lichen,
the mushroom growing on the fallen log.
No one expects perfection, except when they do,
which is always. Even you, king
of the quiet, crash
when I talk about my brokenness.
Cover up, your fractures are showing.
In my life I try to apologize for things I haven’t done
yet. Those are the bruised apples of me,
the possible fruit rotting in the field.
Remember when I kept replaying melancholy?
Remember when I opened our melody with a switchblade?
Rip out the carpet. Mow down the dahlias.
Let’s ruin our lives . . .
It felt good to hurt then—
until it didn’t, until we were left
with bad flooring, a garden
where nothing grew.
You’re asking about the next chapter
and the one after that. You’re asking
what time I’ll be home and if I need
a cloth to buff up my halo.
Let’s put a comma here.
Let’s put in a semi-colon and think about
the next sentence.
I dream of erasers. I dream of whiteout,
I dream of the song where the pharmacist
doesn’t judge me for not being able to make it throughthe day without some sort of pill.
“Braided Between the Broken” by Kelli Russell Agodon appeared in NER 35.1
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