• Sarah Van Arsdale

April 4, 2022



prompt: write a poem in the form of a prompt for a poem



Don’t plunge again into that worn pouch of memories;

it’s a bag of kittens readied for the river.

Okay, you have a packet of injuries,

all the ways that you’ve been wronged,

time-rotted so the paper soaks up all the ink.

You’ve held them so close and with so little air

that they’ve begun to stink.


No: write your own fault-lines: your wariness,

how ready you are to duck the punch,

and in so doing concuss your head.

Map your borders that can’t be crossed

the land of your heart that can’t be claimed.

Mine your own culpability,

not those persistent wounds,

festering still beneath the gauze and tape.

Look hard into your own heart,

both dulled by memory and razor-sharp.

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