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"I learned your shape, your warmth"

Published onMay 01, 2024

Photo by SHVETS Production:

I was living under a tree, in a mosaic
of sunlight and shadow. I was fine.
I had a warm pelt of moss. I had
the skitter of insects. I had the rain.
When you came, you brought a blanket,
a sandwich, a book. I learned your shape,
your warmth; you learned mine back,
the right way I could hold you, the best place
to stretch your legs. When you came,
there was only you—your birdwing
shoulder blades, the pebbles of your
fingernails, the ladybug tickle
from the hairs on your arm, the wind
in your breath. You carved your initials
in the cracks of my bones, sharp and scar-white.
Now that you’re gone, I can’t forget
the words you taught me, your shoe size,
the scent of fake flowers in your hair.
I can only watch the sun shifting shadows
and pray the rain comes more often
to heal me of your chiseled name.

Devon Neal (he/him) is a Kentucky-based poet whose work has appeared in many publications, including HAD, Stanchion, Livina Press, The Storms, and The Bombay Lit Mag, and has been nominated for Best of the Net. He currently lives in Bardstown, KY with his wife and three children.

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