Chrissy Martin

When did my brother realize he couldn’t
pray the pulled worms back together?

Couldn’t will the salt shaker back full,
the slugs unseasoned. Couldn’t undrown

the pill bugs, unflush the newts, unbury
the robins, unbreak necks, little feet,

green crows, lumps of dirt and burnt goldfish.
There are pains that can’t be sorried away.

I’ll never forget the name of the kid
who crashed my tree frog funeral, crushed

the hand glued cross with his Doc Martens.
The centipede boy who left hand shadows

in the creeks of all of our bodies when
we thought we were the only one

under the swell of his limbs. The bulbs
I have eaten instead of buried to hide

them from hands that grab and take, take,
take things apart to prove they can always

be put back together after breaking—
Stop telling yourself that one cut worm

will turn into two, that you multiplied
a body and made of it a phoenix.

Dried into sidewalk ampersands and tildes,
stop saying they’ll come back stronger.



Chrissy Martin

the first boy who touched me without my wanting

said it was an accident when I turned in my electric rage

his hands upward like holding a phantom bird

he didn’t mean to crush in his anger so new and dripping

is this what it means to be a man a toe ever-pressing

outward until someone points out the red line wet paint

you’ve been dragging so you can unstick this crimson shame

from your feet take a quick bow back in the spotlight

this boy when I saw him scared smiling adrenaline

I did a javelin spin threw the closest book thud to chest

what words can protect a body how many chapters

create a hardened shell of retreat on the street all that touching

that train touchinggrocery store touchingpasta endcap

touchingsticky boyfriend couch touchingwhat-no-hug?

touchingall the words I don’t use because who knows

how big each daily danger is I feel so vulnerable in sunlight

in evening when I am a snail and the world is a mountain

I shy from words like assault because it’s just another wednesday

the hands stop being hands start being white noise

the applause underpinning a sitcom you tune out tell me

what letters in what order can make a body newly untouched

Chrissy Martin headshot


Chrissy Martin is a PhD candidate at Oklahoma State University and has an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. She is the Poetry Editor for Arcturus and an editorial assistant for Cimarron Review. Her work has appeared in Harpur Palate, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Crab Creek Review, and Carve Magazine. Find her at chrissymartinpoetry.com.