July 29, 2017

Erin O’Malley (age 14)

MUSEUM

You uncarved me, turned my body
inside out. Against your knife
skin ribboned. Peeling scraps of
flesh unwrapped my body, a museum.
I was irresistible. You said jutting
hips begged skin to unpeel. Hollows
pleaded to become one.
Believed bones were too alluring to go
unseen. I felt my heart strike, beat
at my chest. Beg for ribs
to crack, for veins and arteries to web.
Did you decide I was leaving
you? Think you could stuff memories of me
inside myself? Open me and find a prize? You said
I was someone who belonged
everywhere. Buried pieces of me
in each country. My lost bones are exiles
belonging only to the nation
of my body. My dried veins are a bouquet
on my grave. You had kept them like flower stems
in a vase. Whispered apologies,
how you couldn’t help
but hold my heart in your hands.
Pitiful, the man who thinks
the living are more beautiful dead.

from 2017 Rattle Young Poets Anthology

__________

Why do you like to write poetry?

Erin O’Malley: “I want the words to melt the iron in your blood.”