“My friend told me you’re a poet. I’ve always wanted to meet one. What is it like… to be a poet?”

“Do you see my hands? Here, look they’re just ordinary hands- soft, fleshy, on the thin side perhaps. What you don’t see are the hands hiding below their surface with their sharp, invisible fingers that fill up the forms of those suspended in space. I discovered the presence of these ghostly hands when I was twelve and in love for the first time. They tickled and played with my insides until I discovered that the little girl with the big blue eyes liked another boy- then they clasped my heart so tightly that I spent several nights in tears, convinced that I was dying. It was during that time that I first reached for a pen and paper, out of a distant instinct. I still remember the unfortunate lines, with their precocious pathos: Your eyes are so blue / I don’t want anything / just to look at you. As I wrote them, I felt the grip on my heart loosen. This was a first step in learning what I now understand- that poetry is the only way for me to fight those ethereal hands roaming inside of me. Writing distracts them and thereby limits their damage. At age twelve I only experienced the hands while taken with extreme emotion, but as I grew up they became more volatile, violent, and dominating. A hint of beauty, sadness, love, longing, joy, pain, suffering, or bliss – and off they go scrambling and tearing at my organs. They move around everything inside of me; to make room, viscera are pressed against my skin, which seems to be the only boundary they respect. I do my best to protect my brain and heart – these I need most – so I frantically write, write, write at their slightest stirring. But even so, I know that I’m losing the battle for control; at age twenty-five, the vicious hands have already hollowed out a large portion of my body. At this rate, I won’t be very old when a person will be able to look into my eyes and see nothing. I fear – more than anything – that when this happens, the sharp nails will finally puncture my skin. And I will fall apart. And the only hope that is left for me then, is that some girl will have loved me fiercely enough in my youth to let me dissolve in her arms.”