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Bleeding, Beating, Breathing Heart -- poetry by Abigail E. Calimaran

I’ve spent a lot of time lately, wondering about the things we leave behind:

a sliver of my peel-off purple nail polish

has rested on the toilet paper dispenser

in the girl’s bathroom for at least a year now,

and I wonder if

it’s because no one has bothered to clean it off

or because it can’t be cleaned off.

They say time heals all,

but I wonder how much

actually gets washed away

and how much just gets covered with a band-aid –

some pain to be ignored

until it’s ingrained in the very essence of who you are.

I have names carved into my heart,


if you dissected me right here

and right now

on the counter of our favorite coffee shop’s bathroom,

you’d know every person I’ve ever loved

(and by some extension, you’d know me,

because who am I but a lover?).

I want to carve my name into someone’s heart,

and I want it to stay there,

bleeding sluggishly

until the end of time.

I have never once stopped loving a person.

I don’t know how to let wounds scab over and heal,

but I’ve become very good at replacing ever-changing bandages

and cleaning up a steady drip of blood.

I’d rather rip my finger off than suffer from a paper cut;

the itch of healing burns worse than the wound in the first place.

Is this what it means to love?

Or am I your crazy ex-girlfriend,

the mad woman you bring up for your friends to laugh over?

Must love be madness for it to be real?

I want to love casually, like it’s second nature –

Like it’s human nature.

Not this hellish, divine beast bruising my sternum

every time I so much as breathe.

I am made for otherworldly things,

but I want to be held like I’m human,

like I’m glass.

I like to think I’d break like sweet release,

but the truth is,

I’d probably shatter into a million pieces,

and not one of them would carve deep enough

to label me as yours for the rest of time.


Abigail E. Calimaran is a full-time senior and part-time pre-K gymnastics teacher who, when she is not being those things, crochets while listening to Jane Austen audiobooks, consumes nearly-lethal amounts of caffeine, and dances alone to ABBA in her room. She fantasizes about having her poetry published somewhere before she goes off to college in August or September (where, she has no idea, but she harbors dreams of escaping suburban Mississippi and unleashing her passion for learning and serving her community in the big city scene).

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