14 Billion Hands Manifest the Singularity of Touch
Jigsaw your way into my cochlea & speak
like abandoned shells that gurgle my pulse:
finally, a mantra I can understand.
It is the sound of you falling asleep, hand
over my bare breast. I have thistled into the spaces
between your bones. My joints will strawberry
& pucker around the pillar of your spine to keep you
crooked. Do not crease, shine like cold showers—
the first sticky day of summer. Admit the smell of smoke
is a reminder of your grandfather’s
cancer, & I am the cigarette your mother refuses
to ash. You are the reason for the marker stains
on my arms—slurred & wobbly like your first
steps out of the bedroom. I stop to clench myself
shut, chipped & curtained by the sudden cold.
I tongue your name across my teeth, count taste
buds using feeling alone.
Existence as Found in the Bed of a Pick-Up Truck
I will live in the rust-stained hinges of your back
door. You will find me in the summer grass, a cork
flung across a June backyard. The sound
of skin puckering is silence underneath your high school
diploma, & we must soak into the white lines
on the interstate. Potholes are a reminder of the day
your mother told you to love the gaps
between your teeth—she was
right. If you follow the cracks between the driver’s seat & the center
console, childhood will peek out: crumbs & bits of glitter
from the first summer you rucked for a girl. You cherried & cracked
at my name, pulled your stomach out from your body to keep
the sound of rockslides in. I tunneled into myself to keep
deaf to your noise. Our currency: grasshopper leg-songs—
shrill in the theatre quiet of your parents’ bedroom. Cultured like tetanus
when you tried to cut fifteen from your hair & forgot to wet
the scissors, we clock-worked into the space between the back
seat & the open window, didn’t quite fit. I ask you not to fold
or accordion-fit into the hollow where my ankles
cross. My body won’t hold the laundry-pile of faces that cyclone
past like stretches of Carolina highway—I walk knee-deep into the blooms.
DEVIN STABLEY-CONDE hails from Youngstown, New York and is currently studying English and Creative Writing at SUNY Geneseo. This is her first publication.