Song for the Knife in My Hand

driving back through roads named after birds we kept in boxes
                               when we did that I never had to grow older

the things they teach you later
              I can’t understand how so many people bear it

                            without letting some air under their skin
all that steel made me stronger

tempered my wrists, my arms, around my throat
                               buried light in me too bright to look at

I cross thresholds covered in gold cloth & my face is hidden
                            by a snake wrapped over and over my mouth

the taste of hot places I’ve never been to
            he doesn’t want to take me with him

                        he says: I will show you what pain really looks like
it is something more than chemical

I wonder how many people I carry in my belly
                           & how many of them sit just below the surface

waiting for me, glowing in silence
               I know so many of them won’t come where I go

                            & where will I go
somewhere warm, bright,                 moonless


Alyssandra Tobin is a poet and short fiction writer who has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Ireland home. She has been published or has work forthcoming in Juked, Figure 1, Bad Pony, Atticus Review, Curbside Splendor, and others, and was awarded the Douglas A. Pinta Award in 2015. She recently finished her MA in Creative Writing at the University College Cork.