Clutch

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Clutch

‘Ive been reading this crazy long poem
that is set in the shortest seasons the year.
I cried at the sight of a ripe pear that promised to taste of our life lost together
before my teeth ever took to the skin.
I held that pear in my hand like hand size stillborn fetus
no lips to tell you what made it change its mind about entering this world.
I held it like the rope I cut down in the bathroom
freeing you from your dreams of escaping this lifetime.
Palms beginning to sweat, unknowingly clenching it with all my force.
I held it like the secrets I kept caged in my throat
for fear if I spilled them, you’d leave me to navigate this world alone.

The clench of a first baby tooth lost.
The clench of the first time you feel your hair falling out.
The clench of a lover as you orgasm inside them.
The clench of a rosary in an overcoat pocket,
reminding you that you still haven’t really been born and still haven’t died.
The clench of a mound of dirt you find in your hand
packing it tight like a snow ball, wanting desperately
to throw it at that rickety old shack where you clenched your teeth
as he did things no one should ever have to speak of to you.

In our all too short and long lives we build a rolling assortment of clenches
that sit like townhouses in a row and string like beads.
We are always longing to clench onto our mother’s apron strings
and clench firmly onto the broad back of our dad.
We long to clench our own children’s fingers,
to cup them, reassure them, give them safety.
Like in the long poem, where she bleeds out a winter of year
her sister’s death, a stillbirth, her brother contracting HIV,
She holds that pear because it’s heavy and easy to grasp,
because she can taste it’s sweetness before she bites into it
because sometimes even the one’s we love the most
can’t give us the touch, the caress, the squeeze, the words
we need,

so we clutch onto other things, crazy long poems,
seasons, the object that could have been our destruction.
We clutch it because we’re not there yet.
Sometimes are hands are too empty
and need to be filled,
so we clutch.

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