Screenshot 2018-08-05 at 8.40.29 PM

Check out my poem “After” in the debut issue of Rhythm and Bones.

After

by Ailey O’Toole

There is loss and then there is how it lives

in your body after // organs shoved out of place

to make room for the grief // body cavities overflowing

with things that you do not have the words to describe

yet // because how // are you supposed to explain

that you now share this anatomy // with something

else // something that is and is not you // something that is

stealing // all the air from your lungs // and you’ve

forgotten // how to get more air // You feel the beat

of your blood muddying your veins // shuttling

the loss through every inch of your skin // but no longer

understand the purpose of your pulse // Your nerves

are convulsing under the weight of such calamity //

You will forget where you are or // how to get to

where you are after // There is the sun and there is

the afterlife and the density // of knowing this fills up

any empty space that’s left // in your body // You will be

Betrayed by this skeleton // and the things it holds onto

in the wake of this // You will want to tear yourself

out // of your own skin // try to find the place where

the catastrophe // has nested itself // split open

your own skull if you have to because my god

the loss was painful but // how it lives in your body

after // is so much worse.

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