I learned to write poems on my palms
held tight in my fists
so as not to let the regrettable words escape,
but sometimes they would
and write themselves outside the margins right onto my fingers.
I developed my fiery tongue
biting my tallest finger to silence an outburst
grounded in insignificant standards thrust down my throat.
Holding my tongue left word prints on my lips
which weren’t held hostage by my bite.
I swallowed my pride--
but it crawled its way right back out again.
When they told me I wasn’t good enough:
hitting with fists became hitting with words,
and though most bruises mend themselves
how do you heal scars left by irrelevant streams of consciousness,
randomized patterns of consonants, and vowels
I’m writing my legacy stops me long enough
to remind me to count my blessings on my fingers.
And when I get to ten, I start all over again.
I will I continue to count long enough to watch my fingers
age and contort, to form outspoken shadow shapes onto the walls,
to leave something more than fingerprints on this earth.
But when the day comes,
that my hands and lips both are lost for words
I hope you fill the spaces between my fingers;
I hope my palms and pads
become empty pages,
that you choose to scribble or trace my last words,
and then write the world on your own.