I’ve been playing operation with rejection.
All the bones collect in my throat and I
spend my time carefully picking up.
I tweeze so gently– 
the buzzing almost never gets me.
I’ve practiced my life away. 

A clown on the table, still
the embarrassed red nosed reindeer.
I pat at the gaping holes and tell myself
Rudolph was a story about the chosen.

I’ve been hole punched by all of this.
My heart was only ever as strong as paper
mache, a few layers.
We cut me up for aesthetics at Christmas 
to save on paper and I guess
the snow was worth it.

All my gift wrap has turned into cold poems.
Snowballs roaming to be bagged,
melting down into muted tear
and bone throat. I’m so still–
knowing all the ways you taught
me to be careful with touching

too much.
How to strengthen your grip on a story,
How to lift, how to win.