When I Sit With Your Troubled Mind by Allyson Whipple

I don’t know how to describe it, because all adjectives seem?

like value judgments when I can’t possibly understand what it’s like to own?

a brain that seems hell-bent on sabotage, that splits?

not just into lobes, but fractures the way skin bursts and bleeds?

when pierced by glass, the way pottery shatters on concrete, an angel?

and a devil on a shoulder, only this time there is no angel. At no point?

has there been an angel, guardian or otherwise. I will never know?

your mind the way I know the over-romanticized parts of a body:?

your lips, eyes, hands. Perhaps I should focus?

on the less-poetic body parts, the inside of the nostril, fingernail cuticles,?

beard trimmings you leave in the sink. All I really want to see?

are the scars you’ll never show me, the ones you keep hidden?

beneath facial hair, the ones you were insecure about when you were seventeen,?

but keep covered out of habit. I will go to my grave without seeing?

them. No matter how much you love me, you will never reveal?

the rewoven fibers of your skin, those supposed flaws that will never be flaws?

to me. No matter how content you are, you will never smile?

in pictures. Your mind distorts all visions of yourself. Slowly,?

you give up the secrets. You will never let me see all of your skin,?

but eventually, you will have unpacked all of your mind, set?

it out on oilcloth for me to inspect, run my hands over the hot?

spots where the manic electricity pulses, feel it cool in my hands?

as the depression sets in. I want to run my fingers along?

ridges and lines the way I read the wrinkles blossoming in the?

corners of your eyes, the way I comb my nails through?

your hair, the way if I concentrate hard?

enough, I am almost certain where the newest strands?

of grey are going to bloom.

Allyson Whipple

Allyson Whipple is a student in the online MFA program with the University of Texas at El Paso. She is the author of two chapbooks: We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are (Finishing Line Press) and Come Into the World Like That (Five Oaks Press). Allyson serves as co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar and teaches at Austin Community College.

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