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Cyndie Randall


While I'm looking at a picture of you, both of my hands grow
into chainsaws. I think, Don't panic. Go with it. Embrace this

change that must be good. My vibrating face begins to feel
too heavy to bear. I walk to the mirror – the lost and found

of bodies—and hold up my new steel sprouts. Tell the truth, I say,
but my reflection only begs me not to go to you. I go anyway, drag

my lethal arms sparking down miles of potholed cement until
I reach your house. My knocking cuts your door in two just before

I sever us in half with my hug. I have not even stepped all the way in,     
and here we are, folded together at the threshold like campfire wood.

It is quiet now. As we lie here, I glimpse my reflection
in your window. It is shaking its head: You splinter every thing

you touch. I say, Tell the truth. Don't we only make
more pieces of what we love? My hands grizzle and spit.






I experienced a very layered and disorienting relationship loss that led me into deep depression and grief. During that season, I didn't sleep much at night and would often climb back into bed in the afternoon.

One day as I was falling asleep, I suddenly felt as if my hands were too big for my body, as if they were growing bigger by the second. I kept my eyes closed and welcomed the sensation just to see what would happen. My hands didn't stop growing. They grew and grew until I wanted to yell for help. I decided I must be having a stroke and wondered if this was it for me, if I was dying. Then I remembered myself as a child, how creatively my mind had worked to handle trauma. I was not having a stroke, I was feeling out of control and abandoned, and my body was telling me about it. How there had been no wrapping up. No closure. A person I had trusted with the most vulnerable places of myself was suddenly just gone, and there wasn't a single thing I could do about it.

More shattering this particular day was my own voice—a quiet but steady intuition that said to me, "Even if or when he is someday capable of returning to you, he's not going to." This poem is many things, but inside of it I always find the familiar and catastrophic shame and rage and confusion of being both too much and not enough.