I could feel the skeleton in my skin

When you left me, every dry bone,

Like I had swallowed two balloons

Bumping inside the gaps of my ribcage.


When we were together, I had learned to grow arrows

From my fingertips, I had become an archer

Straining to earn your glances.


I threw those darts at your heart long before my back became your cutting board.


Your eyes were happy, and you played the piano like the tide

Passing over the shells of the shore beneath the moonlight.

And we would walk along the sea, our toes touching the glass

Of its little waves, the seagulls soaring above our heads.


But soon you led me along the blade

As the hives in your mouth traded their sweetness for stings,

Your laughter becoming fangs,

Filling the air between us with distance.


You touched my hand one last time, a single spark

Before you went away,

And now, this cold adrenaline’s a poison, convincing my body

It is more alive than it could ever be again.

I Can Only Do So Many Things

I can only do so many things

Before my lungs give out.

So I’ll go for a walk to figure it all out

As best I can.


Although I do know how to look at flowers and the yellow silk of their petals,

The streetlamps, the pair of initials settled in the cement,

I could always learn to see them better.


My elementary school teachers taught me to type,

But sometimes I still make mistakes.

I have spelled my last name Hugg ten too many times,

Though I have yet to give ten too many hugs to anybody.

So today, I’m going to go outside and hug somebody.


Although I am thirty years old, I still find myself

Dancing like a scarecrow on a yellow road

When no one’s looking, and, every now and then,

When everyone is.


My arms are filled with atoms,

Peering around like periscopes as I write,

Seeking out some land where I can stand

And call out to the clouds of my brain for the next



I can spin a pen around the ball bearings of my fingertips –

It’s learning to use it that is agonizing.


I can picture your hands, your face,

As you read this,

For you, too, can only do so many things.


And as I wonder where you are from and what has brought us together in this moment,

I try to discover what is stopping us.

For though we can only do so many things,

There are so many things that only we can do.


So unravel the things you can do. Unfold them and rub them against

The edges of the table to iron out their creases,

Read the crisp handwriting of the notes that have been written

To you. Take notes on your forearms to remind yourself

Of that tree you climbed when you were young.

Perch yourself on the curb of a storefront and eat your lunch with both hands

Like a toddler waiting for his birthday to come.


Let the static shock of a plastic slide send you straight back to your childhood.

Buy a candy bar on the impulse shelves of the checkout counter

And eat the entire thing on the way home.

And I’ll set up the chess board for another round

Against my father, the man who taught me everything I needed to know

About knighthood.


So this evening, when the night sky swims into view,

Before I sleep like a puddle of rain,

I will know I have done all that I can do

And so have you

And maybe we’ll meet for ice cream before our lungs give out.