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Dried Up Pens

Hunter Blackwell

I wanted to stop writing about him--

everything bleeds red,

everything bleeds him.

I changed the color

of the ink,

black, green, orange

and blue.

But he never leaves me

like the brown color embedded into

my skin that makes me a threat,

like the black saturating

the strands of my hair,

he is everywhere.

I see him in the face

of every man that’s hit

on me at work.

I see him in the beard

that grows from

every chin.

I see him in every full

lip that curls up into a smile.

I see him in every brown

eyes that looks bashfully

on at the world,

that keeps it young

and full of optimism.

He plagues me in the worst way--

he bleeds into my poetry.

Everything has become

about the day he

placed malicious

intent in every thrust

into me.

When people ask why

I dare cut my hair,

why I would sever

the soft and coily

curls from my head,

all I can think about is

maybe I can

rid myself of him

that maybe this would set me free.

I tell them instead,

because I wanted too.

They don’t ask me twice.

I don’t look at the

photograph of me holding

my degree without

remembering all the nights

I laid awake at night,

wishing I could scrub

the ghost of his fingertips

from my skin,

praying I could close my eyes

and forgot the way

his weight crushed

my chest.

I told myself

he doesn’t deserve that power,

doesn’t deserve the space

he takes up on the page,

doesn’t deserve the ink

I use to write about him.


Hunter Blackwell is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. She will return to school at Northern Arizona University for her MFA. Her work has appeared in Rose Quartz Magazine, The Write Launch, Twist in Time Literary Magazine, Mid-Heaven Magazine, Ink & Nebula and in Barren Magazine. She is a bisexual writer of color, novice cosplayer, and lover of Marvel Comics. 

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