How to Heal Exit Wounds


By Valentina Thompson

1. Admit you’re shot. Imagine:
Doctor, that isn’t a bullet, listen,
her name is
—Not important, he would
say, you’re bleeding out, (think you’re
an idiot.) But I bet he’d grab your elbows
like an emergency and it would
feel a lot like love. I bet he’d say,

I can’t treat
something if you won’t tell me
where it hurts.

2. Tell someone where it hurts
and in what way and all you need.
In the silence. In the car. Hurts in
the webs of your fingers, in the space.
My god, in the space. You think,
I think there is too much gravity in me.
I think I am too good at revolving around
these things I can never touch all of. In
my wrists, you say, it hurts in my wrists.

3. In the way a person leaves
louder than the gunshot. In the way
you are never afraid of the gunshot.
In the way there is always something
in the way of something, in the way
you will never reach

for them because it is
not your place and it hurts in your
wrists, knowing that no one has ever
yet saved your place, it hurts in your wrists,
the way people leave and never take you
with them. I am shot,

you say. 4. Strip blame like clothes.
Say, I am shot and it is not my fault. This
visit, she left through my wrist, and it
is not my fault. After proper care,
I’ll need time.
I need time.

5. Allow for it.

1 comment

  1. Way to go, Valentina! I am so happy for you! Your poem in Cadence Collective today is stunning. And the Puchcart nomination is so earned and deserved! See you at the next Poetry Party.

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