the first cut is the deepest

by sophie

Hello Chickadees. I am thinking of you as we move through the night into February. I have some new poems in the latest issue of Strange Machine Poetry, many of which were written last June at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

This week’s been both difficult & beautiful, an education. Sometimes pain and confusion and the stories we tell ourselves that construct our identities go cyclic and we wake up with headaches going “How the hell did I do that again.” Then someone asks, “Don’t you think you deserve more?” And the answer you think is yes, but you can hardly begin to imagine what that might look like, how the parts might fit & move together. A friend dies suddenly, then another, you’re left in the aftermath to decide whether living in their absence is a stone on a chain or a gift. Or a friend’s disease flares up and you know intuitively how to help, but when they begin to recover, all your feelings topple into themselves and you can’t figure out exactly where to stand, where to look, where to put your hands. Sometimes you find yourself past midnight kissing someone just like you, later waking briefly beside them in the dark and being comforted by an unexpectedly deep certainty. It’s all a gift, chickadees. The view of the city & the river on Sunday morning from a warm Cadillac, and when you’re still, the sound of nothing but birdsong.

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