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Gone Chelsea Hart I tried stitching time to my veins, to stop the world from turning, To keep you from burning into the ashes of memory But the words you needed were wet paper on my tongue And I’m older now than I was then How ugly it is to know one’s self inside/outside/inside There is only black behind my teeth, Intentions stain my fingers, soak through the sheets of this unfolded desire And everything these hands can ever do will only ever be the sum Of the things they have never done—will never do This bloody thing, this withered heart convulsing in the chest Of every smiling person Half-eaten by that toothed hunger of need Where does the paper mask end—the skin and bones, the aching flesh begin My tongue is seared With the promises I never should have made—never meant Words spit into the dark will follow me always Like string tied to my backwards ribs When will these lungs, broken from the box, Learn how to take in air the way they were meant When will the gas spill of my soul Find the spark that will consume it—violent, beautiful, finally worth- while When will these hours spent collecting the ashes, smearing them on my skin 16