By Katie Hogan
Them mountains ate my hands. Momma always warned me not to touch them, but I tried to pull them closer for they reminded me of your bone structure. Crooked, uneven, unfixable. Them mountains remind me of that time you drove me to see the sunrise, armed with knives and burnt toast. So I drove out again to find you, but ended up on the side of the road admiring yellow poppies and romanticizing suicide. We never saw that sunrise, but I memorized the life lines on your palms in hopes that I could extend them for miles. You used the same palms to point out the corner of the hospital, where Death tangoed with your bedmates. I never told you that I went through your pockets after you died. I found ash and dust from all the people you sucked dry. There are cities burning down, hearts being held on twigs, and I am standing here near the Pacific with handfuls of sad limbs. I tried to offer the mountains the dust and ash, but them mountains broke my fingers. It reminded me of how you taught me to kiss my echo whenever I became lonely, so I drove out to the canyons and made love to the ripples of my melancholy. You would’ve been proud of me with my broken fingers and heavy shoulders, screaming out to nothing. And if I could, I would roll your hospital bed out to that canyon so you could teach me more pleas. I would bury your bones with the dust and the ash. And if I stayed on the side of the road with my arms extended, my hands bitten off, patted to marrow like burnt twigs in summer heat, would you come back for me? Look, I peeled my skin off for you. I’ll feed you my lungs so yours can work. If I give them mountains my ribs, would you swallow my apologies? I never meant to leave you, but them mountains ate me up, and I am left as remnants of hospital hallways, like your pockets full of dust.