alarm on his arm
Emergency dispatch, please send one of each:
a cop, an ambulance, and a fire-truck.
We might need everyone.
blood, thin like water,
making doctors wonder.
“Fish oil supplements,” he answers with pique.
“I’m trying to take care of my heart.”
This is not advice.
This is not a how-to.
This is the worst f**king misuse
of a deft hand and silence.
Cutting themselves is supposed to be
something only girls do.
Boys do it, too.
The unsanitary secret: humans hurt themselves
when they’re hurting and nobody’s helping.
We break glass in case of emergencies
inflict harm so we can predict it
violence with words
We make pain part of us
build scar tissue around it
live past shards
The topic of this poem—
a cliché that keeps welling up
from children and adults
for whom we haven’t made places
to feel safe
who still aren’t
A.L. Kander writes with her sidekick, a fearless blue fish who doesn’t realize he’s only one inch tall. Her work is published or forthcoming in Breadcrumbs, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Story Seed Vault, and beyond.