By Anna Mitchell ’22


I am stretched out horizontal

on my bed

my heavy body pressing

into the forgiving heap

of blankets

like decaying leaves

of October (or November)

and the top layer — the one that knows my skin —

presses me back

this time, for answers.

How many fingers

did I swallow at birth?

How many eyes,

when looking upon me,

have clenched shut

against time wasted?

How many hopes & whims & lusts

haunt my crisscrossed veins?

But I have no answers

to provide

only bound books to circle

a few articles to quote

ancient tales to recount.


But my blanket doesn’t care

for other people’s thoughts.


My blanket beams azure

& emerald & sage

in the morning sunlight (it is still early,

and they’ll be sleeping, for a while longer)

that laps at the room in ribbons

through half-drawn blinds.


Why didn’t they teach me

to see scarred cheeks

and sweat-heavy brows

when I see (grin & dismiss)

the last citrus fruits


that grow?

To detect the scripture

in the trunk of the eucalyptus tree

(reading: Return to sender)

when I borrow

its fallen leaves?

Why didn’t they teach me

to paint broken hands

when they taught me

how to paint?


I remain, nestled

in the soft palm

looking up, noticing

how rough and calloused

the cream-colored ceiling is

like dead skin caked on heels

or my parched winter elbow

that knocks you awake in the morning

You should put some lotion on that

you say, tugging your cocoon

around your lulling frame,

not even suspecting

that the soft swishing sound it makes

might be the voices

of its ghosts.

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