Come Apart in Your Hand

And it’s like this           a shaky arm lets me steep too long           My past self, a pile of skin

cells settling in the dent of his shadow in every shot           If my oldest memory of you

involves a lake             how waterlogged does that make your body by now           If my head

is the cage,             which of us is the lion           The farther back, the eggier           the screaming

becomes in my ears           Could I be more obvious if I finger paint you

stick figured, inside of my cheeks             being chased by some large             (but no

less dead) mammal             In public I pick my teeth with the boniest             beliefs but you don’t

know the faces I make in the dark           the pop I play on repeat when no one’s

coming home Don’t make this awkward           I’m still             a breath             but I’ve lost my hand

pressing into the wet cement             of your heart longer than I should by a name             not mine        Then

the cold,             the crumpling, my stomach like an aluminum ball             and the radio


not rewired in time       do you copy       when I watch all my friends in my living room through some binoculars

backwards to feel Mars far away    If my other arm was never there,       is it still a phantom

limb          if I can’t remember when it first showed up, can I really be bothered by your ghost

Peter Twal is an electrical engineer living in Lafayette, Indiana. His works have appeared (or will soon) in Kenyon Review Online, Ninth Letter Online, Quarterly West, cream city review, The Journal, Devil’s Lake, RHINO, Booth, Yemassee, New Delta Review, Forklift, Ohio, DIAGRAM, Bat City Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. Peter earned his MFA from the University of Notre Dame, and you can find more of his work at