“Later that night I held an atlas in my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered, where does it hurt? It answered: everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.” –Warsan Shire
To the young girl in English class:
I want to gather you in my arms like air,
I want to protect you—I want to be your mother,
tell you to not make the same mistakes I once did.
But how do you hold onto a teenage girl without breaking her?
The world is constructed around telephone poles
stuck in the ground like thumb tacks
with strings running across a map:
we are all trying to get somewhere
or keep from finding the place we’re at.
Oh darling, I see the marks upon your skin.
I see how you hold yourself.
I’m talking about the hammer
we use to fix things that gets
at our very thumbs.
The broken things that break us,
the wallpaper we use to surround a crumbing heart.
I’m talking about the brokenness behind your beautiful brown eyes.
I’m talking about what you are hiding behind those long sleeves.
And I want you to see I’m here now:
and I’ll still be here
when the voice across the wires falls off of those trees.
Taylor Tessa Lutz teaches English Language Arts in Wray, Colorado and resides nearby in rural Nebraska. Her family, faith, and the taciturnity of the Midwest fuel her passion for life and writing. Lutz received her undergraduate from Nebraska Wesleyan University and was awarded the Boatright Award in Poetry. She holds a MA in English and Creative Writing. She has acted as co-editor of poetry for the Flintlock and a visiting editor for The Penmen Review. Her collection of poems, “The Seasons Reside in the Trees,” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.