All I wanted was the shadow

of your fingers

and cool eyes to kind of soften as

I gather my wounds in this tulip

and with you I would say



enter and close me up


I waited in your room

like this, folding and unfolding

my fingers over my palms as if it were

the tulip opening and closing,

bearing witness to my wounds

you know so much about, and then each time I

closed them, I saw a sort of smooth scar spreading

over old stitches, and the new ones

blended so well in these new petals.

The clock ticking as it

pushed into the impossible hours.

You are not coming, love.

And I swear I saw out the window an old comet

disappearing behind the horizon of the place

I fear life goes, or intimacy, or the

promise of budding in Spring in this town

that never grows–just mud and dead-ends

and bent telephone poles.


The next morning I had too much coffee

because my chest hurt.  The bright

rooms felt vacant, even disturbed somehow,

as if they had spent the night with me and woke up

hung over and hazy.


I looked down into my hands and cupped

them and closed them and imagined little

black tulips hiding their centers,

not from me, but from the world.

From love. Rejection does this.


And I keep waking up at odd hours

in a box made out of black flowers that press

panic down into me

–an old panic, the kind that happens

when people leave.


And there’s his voice

repeating in my head

speaking in another language
and then nothing,

silence and carefully chosen

acoustic guitar melodies plucking

sadness from me like grapes,

through my rooms, without words.


I envisioned a love story that

wasn’t really there;

he was a reflection

of the things in me

I was only learning

about myself.


The chest pain I am allowing;

I’ve switched to black tea

and cigarettes; to looking

into myself in the quiet noon



here I am

enter and close me.


You can’t cut a heart out of someone

if you’re not holding it.


16 thoughts on “Self-Exam

  1. For every difficult degree down and in, a parallel opportunity blossoms up and out: That’s the reward and risk of healing. To become that much more intimate, to have that much fuller a heart. Blossoms exfoliate to light, and close with the night: those reflexive motions are here (exquisitely mimicked with a hand opening and closing, and later a heart beating in the chest and severed in the hands of another. Self-exams tell us so much–some work must be left for the Doctor–and art reads the heart only so well: But what it does achieve here is to scalpel with great precision a clarity about the distance between degrees of intimacy and separation. Amen Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Exquisitely melancholy indeed. Your beautiful words have made me immensely sad, proof of their worth. A truly beautiful write.
    Kind regards
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stunning poetry. The motif of the tulip is so striking and you delve through the emotional depths which one can to relate to on any number of levels. Most affecting.

    Liked by 1 person


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