If Every Poem is a Love Poem, Then I’m Still Mistaken

by Kiyanna Hill

A little over a year ago, he left me or I left
him or we ran away from each other.
It doesn’t matter anymore, but the river
rose that week – the water clouded
brown, wilted black gum tree leaves, tadpoles
cycling. I waded until the lower
half of me was lost. Thought my legs were stronger
after the dead weight dropped me for someone
else. I never thought to call you after this
heartbreak, coming to water for a cleansing,
another place that hasn’t asked for my hands
to pull away their wreckage. I say this
to let you know I was sad for a while,
couldn’t keep track of a new tangible loss.
The sawing away from his hip.
I don’t know how many
more times I can bleed onto the floor
and clean after myself. Is this how you felt
when my father left us? All the wild ferns
die. All the times we saw the wind
take its own shape. I can’t tell if loss
leaves a bigger hole in the ground
if two bodies are still left standing.
There are footsteps on the riverbed –
could be yours or his – but I don’t call
for an easy saving, only for a hand
to cut the vine wrapping around my ankle.

Kiyanna Hill is a Black writer. She is left handed. Her work can be found in Porter House Review, Brave New Voices, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook A Damned House and Us In It is forthcoming from Variant Literature.

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