“My Name Is Love and I’m an Amputee” by Rylee McNiff

Rylee McNiff (age 15)


you left in a hurry.
instead of a box of your cds
or your jacket or a sock
i hand you my wrist,
my pinky,
my collar bone.
i cut my palm to make lines
like yours to replace what is
gone. identity

i’m dizzy. i’m dizzy all the time.
i take in the breath you left behind
stash it under my tongue—
suck on your toothbrush
like a man and his dip
spitting onto the road leaving it
behind. obsession

i’m spinning. i keep on spinning.

i try to string body parts closer
with floss
tooth by tooth
footsteps by shoelace
toe by toe stitched together
like candy necklaces
and i try to keep it

but i will never stop spinning.
at some point things become out
of order, some might say, outgrown.

we no longer align.
i hand you what i’ve saved for last—
one final hope
one final vein leading
to my brain.

from 2019 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Rylee McNiff: “Because when it rains on the 4th of July but you still light sparklers on the porch while your dad reads a James Patterson novel.”

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