somewhere, a drought has broken after years of silence

and the ground weeps a water it has forgotten

                        how to hold, a wounded

                                    motherhood, a daughter drowned to


            I thumbed at the coils of my twists and tried

                        not to think of the noose

                                                or the snake, both being my own


I would like to tell this story

                                            as an epic. I want righteousness

                                                                                and honor and a god

at the end, open arms and you have done

                                            well I want to say I had been thinking

            of the punches or freedom or

                                    the pool of my spine, hunched and soft as


                                                really, I said I’ll kill you because I wanted

it to hurt, and if I couldn’t have an apology,

            goddamnit, I would have this instead: the air

                        between us ashed

                                                            to graveyard, migrated heartbeat

            in your cheek–I am Destroyer

                                    and maybe that’s all I’ll ever be–

                        you gave me this prophecy.

                                                  let me pretend it is enough to live on.

I know now what I could not then: that kill

                                                 can never mean create,

            no matter how one moves the tongue.

                                                    ruined wishbone throbbing

                                            between us, you turned

            twisted so we were face-to-face, and

                                                                                that’s when I saw it:

                                                                    the shrapnel buried

in your eye, glinting,              the little beaded

                             girl in the skeleton of your face, amber trapped–

                window blown to lilies.

                                                      sea fraying the edges of your perm.

I looked down and saw your hands,

                        the way they shake with their own undoing–

                                                and I opened my mouth as though

                                    for the first time

                             and began to scream, the night around me


                                                                  like a broken sword

Claire Pinkston is a seventeen-year-old biracial Black poet and writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has previously been recognized at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and is forthcoming in Lumiere Review, the B’K, and The Hellebore, among others. She is growing with her poetry.