How Good It Is/Epilogue: Hatchet Artisanship

How good it is   Epilogue: Hatchet Artisanship

The first time I tried to fit inside a box less than half my size,

I was playing hide and seek.

I imagined it would be as easy as contortionists made it seem,

Fingers folding into palms, forearms folding at the elbow .

But I couldn’t fit, it

wasn’t quite big enough for my wrists

so I          broke     them because I was a competitive child.        (because immigrant children can’t afford not to be)

Since the point was hiding, I sharpened my nails to

press my brown flesh into the bark,

unthreaded all the strands of muscles in my abdomen,

hoping they didn’t stink like curried meat

(and yes, I felt a bit nauseous all the time, but when you pack a suitcase my father always told me to be mindful of arranging the space and so I)

squeezed my ribcage to deflate my lungs,

and carefully painted mehendi on my body mimicking patterns in the woodwork,

and (it’s lucky) blood dries brown giving me a broader palette to work with.

And I hid for                                          yea(hours)

without a calendar or a watch, sealed away in a box, it’s hard to tell time or who’s gone by

but enough passed for

my fingers dry to bone

loose      and rattling,                           a skeleton in

a girl-sized leather canteen.

Enough passed for me to win

the game –and that’s the important thing

until I discovered I had been forgotten,

never sought out.

But by then, my lungs had shriveled to dust

and my heart had desiccated, drying into a walnut.

And slowly, slowly I could feel my    skin turn

shadow-thin and my elbows and knees locked




And someone else was busy shaping the whole thing, me inside with a little hatchet, its edge made from my old nails so of course I had to wonder where he found them even while admiring his handiwork.

I was surprised of course, and tried to call out, but my voice box had long ago turned to pebbles

So I suppose all he could feel            was them                               grating.   So I tried to apologize, but I guess I just flung more pebbles in his face and, just as everyone hates furniture they stub their toe on, no one likes facial scarring from pebbles stored in a stupid wooden box.

And this little wooden box is

for a little wooden girl and

her little wooden thoughts.

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