quote – un-quote

by a. noelle

Why I copy words down:

Because I feel, have felt the same—

you say it better;
I want to connect my feelings to your words—
your words to my thoughts.

Because I like the way the syllables flutter and sway when they’re strung on that line—

I think the arrangement looks pretty
in that handwoven vase, and
I’d like to borrow that vase
for these daisies I handpicked.

Because I am a record-keeper, a closet (re)organizer, a reformed hoarder—

I am a collector of “words”;
the phrases, the paragraphs, the parentheticals
are like patches that cover my holes
and make me seem put-together.

Because they taste like potions and sound like magic spells—

they have the power to bend, and break,
and revive and heal;
they transfigure my pen into a wand
filled with more raw inspiration
than I could produce on my own.

Because I can’t stop myself from wanting to save some-thing

that’s begging to be saved—

I don’t think I actually remember
this day. I don’t think the scene
in my head is real—it must instead

be the retelling of the story that
I have memorized and rehearsed—
that my mind has filled in the gaps.

And yet, it would explain why,
twenty-one years later, we
can feel the phantom hurt inside

each other; how our pains align
themselves in symmetry, or in
complement, like mirror selves.

Sarah Kay, “Slivers” (excerpt)

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