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as you fall apart -- Poetry by Abby Pasternak

I can watch you as you fall apart.

Pieces begin to dislodge themselves from your mind and land on the floor like dust—

silent in their descent they litter

the ground around your bed,

a fine powder comprised of bone fragments and sea salt.

It swirls into a cloudy mist under the surface of your over-steeped tea

and mixes with the quarter-cup of milk that you add to cut the bitterness

while you slowly



I run my finger along the surface of your desk.

The dust

shimmering like glitter

sticks to my hand and stays there,

stuck within the creases of my skin

as tiny drops of blood begin to pour from my fingertips.

Your heart continues to beat as you crumble under the weight

of broken bottles

and motherly love

The powder coats your lungs and you choke on your own

need to be


to give


to love until there is nothing left and the strings

holding you together have been snipped.

Seventeen threads for each year of hazy memories that turn to mist as you try to grab them

and tie them back together,

You lace your fingers through mine—palms touching—

and allow your body to fall, our entwined hands bringing me tumbling alongside you.

A youth and a lifetime lost to the flecks that fall from your arms

and land at your bare feet.

The limp


now lying before me has your same eyes—


and blank,

they stare back.

your mind pours from the empty pupils.

The dust now turned to mud as it drips down your cheeks,

leaching the color from your face.

So I grip your wrists in earnest and watch

as your body

dissolves between my aging fingers.


Abby Pasternak is a theater and tea lover from California who enjoys knitting, doodling, writing, and John Mulaney specials. She is currently an editor of her school's literary magazine and is a co-lead of the school poetry club. Along with her interest in poetry, she writes short stories and is working on a novel. As a senior, she fears for the upcoming responsibilities of college life but is excited for all of the opportunities it will bring.

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