a poem for what just happened

A Poem For What Just Happened, In Three Parts.


If you are unsure, holding a hand — if you would take a hand into your hand and not be sure — do not take the hand. Unfairness is not the subject here. Blood is the subject. Blood and skin and bones that need the certainty of a comforting squeeze or a light caress. You are not holding the hand of an idea. That hand is that person. Let go; let fingers slip from fingers; let the temperature drop as they cool; let go.

For a long time, you will reach into mist, you will touch the bark of a yew, you will tap metal and you will wash your hands in hot water. Everything will feel like that hand. Everything is more sensitive now. Bones and skin and blood, as old friends, reacquaint themselves as you forget the angle of the wrist, the callouses, the lines and the scars.


I don’t want to take the pill. I do not want to take this fucking pill. I signed up for this, and the pill is now severed neatly with the plastic gadget and I even have a silver pillbox and I do not want to take this pill.

I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy for being afraid of horrible things. I’m not crazy for being afraid of heartbreak, of loss, of failure. If I am crazy for these things, then you are too.

It’s good timing. Timing. Time. Now is the time for all good pills to come to the aid of my brain. The timing is perfect. I cut the pill in half like we cut us in half. I’m not crazy. It is in half. I’ll take it. I won’t take it. I’ll take it.

Side-effects include: anorgasmia weight gain stomach upset nausea tremors swearing a fucking lot jiggling my leg so hard it bruises fucking swearing a fucking lot hot flashes second-guessing self-doubt hysterical laughter hysterical tears self-doubt self-doubt self-doubt

I’ll take it.


This part of the poem is a secret. This part has words I won’t give you, not because you’re wrong or far away; I simply do not have them yet. Shapes on the horizon, vowels as tall as buildings, consonants the shadows between them, loom. Tone drifts as low-moving clouds. I am a mile away, on the long road in, radio on, windows down, and I am smiling.

— Halsted M. Bernard

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.