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Dec 2019
the hunchback moves with the pews
alongside children and their man
who, stiffening under his corduroy,
sits behind his services.
so lost in a translation and a tot.
hunched, i could wail
the miracle of touching in the blind.

beneath the steeple, i am told,
dirt in the eye makes it whole.
beneath the scabbed ground,
are families who wore denim
even in portraits
even when mangled with steel on the interstate.
above, i am so very lonely.

i am told they were buried in pairs.
the children’s man tells me the caskets
were closed for the service.
i want to tell him i never asked.
he involves himself with the bodies
like a shard in the night.
he and the tender middle,
pinned among ashes and ashes.

(oh god can you see

the soil

and your shepherd’s hand heading down to meet it?)

the hunchback under paper bedsheets
is a behemoth of all exterior.
touch him, tangle with it.
peeled open to the innards,
and in resignation,
there are sadder truths under the skin.
small as nail clippings on the linoleum
and me tossing myself onto the spike.

in whatever misshapen ****** i barter,
i know i still breathe like you do.
placing it all here, then,
at the holy foot of
every physicality i am mangled with,
it is a simple confession-

that you can’t know how this could be tears me apart.
Written by
Elijah Bowen  18/M/West Virginia
(18/M/West Virginia)   
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