A House of Words

I wish I could rip out a piece of my brain for everyone to see,
For them to see a glimpse of the beauty
in words crafted like the twin towers,
words that have been attacked and burned
but still hold substance,
words that refuse to fade into the
depths of our memory,
words that will resurface
with powerful importance and unity.

In my brain, poetry is more than an art form
and more than a thing to create to be unique.
In my brain, all things are connected
and stitched in a gray thread of metaphors.

In my brain, I have built a house made of words I’ll live in forever,
and yes, it will rain, and yes, I will feel it,
but when the words sink into my skin,
my brain will repurpose them –
Only when they evaporate do I produce words strong enough
to hold themselves to the ceiling.

After rainfall, I sit, body draped over my legs because
here, my body exists solely because my brain lacks hands.
Words will drain from my mind before my hand can even
read them; it doesn’t matter though, because my hands
will never see the beauty in what they write;
It’s not their place to.

My hands are pawns, enslaved
to the only muscle that forms words faster than my tongue.
I am always either writing a poem or living one
and my hands are rarely involved in the latter.

I consider the danger of ranking the usefulness
of my body in parts and apologetically glance at my nail beds,
who have never prompted me to write
but grow painfully around my fingernails,
possibly driven by neglect: their own personal version of heartbreak.

I will write until my heart breaks and resume
when my brain tugs at her from my shoulders.
My brain will send her a rush of blood as if to say,
“It is not a bad thing to no longer skip beats,”
and my hands will stand oblivious.

I’d still be a poet without them.
As I write this, they are not offended.
They do not sweat or crack or reach for danger.
They show me their palms as if to ask,
“Is that all? Are you sure?”

They will always value quantity over quality.
They are the most proud of themselves when they cramp
after setting down an ink-drained pen.
They fall to rest as if to say,
“Now, our work is done.”

But my mind will view her child of words
with a painful maternal love;
she will try to perfect her, but that can never happen
because she knows how, but she
doesn’t understand the poem now stands alone –
outside of her hands.

These poems are walking freeze frames,
powerful like mountain-moving statues,
and unless we search for the unexplainable,
you will never see what exactly is so beautiful about the ruins of an earthquake.
We will never see that maybe the cracks in the ground are opening justly,
that our fault lines cross more often than the ground’s,
that to ignore the ruins is to expect aftershock,
but still some will stand frozen as the earth shakes around them.

Erin Harrison
Erin Harrison is a senior in high school from North Mississippi who dedicates a significant portion of her time mentoring middle school girls in regards to mental health, self-image,and kindness through her project "I Feel Pretty." Outside of cheer practice and school, she enjoys writing, reading and really being a typical 17-year-old girl. You can find more information on her website. ("I Feel Pretty" is for everyone - not just middle school girls!)

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