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Evidence of Living

by Caitlin Striff-Cave

I shovel the remnants of yesterday and last year and

three seconds ago between each of my ribs,

clutching as much as I can until I burst

and they spill into my lap and onto the floor.

I must hold all of them: the rusted necklace,

the ink-dried pens, every birthday card and

guitar string; they must be tucked in my palm,

behind my ear, and beneath my tongue.

But I cannot swallow the fleeting moments

when I am the most alive, when I am grieving

the moment before it has passed; the thought fills

my lungs with syrup as I collapse on the kitchen floor.

Still I waste my time thinking of how

to hold on to each minute, each second,

and if I cannot hold my life in my hands, then I

must keep a tangible, pitiful reflection of what once was.

Let me have these shards of the broken

sugar bowl and the minute hand from every

clock in your house, take my buttons and

window frames and we will go dancing.

There are memories under my fingernails,

behind my eyes, lining my stomach; there is no more

room but I’ve barely been alive;

must I forget so as to grow older?

One day, my pockets full of

nostalgia and paperclips will be all I have,

but for now I am in love

with the mundane and the beautiful.

Caitlin Striff-Cave lives in West Hartford, Connecticut. Her poetry is forthcoming in Loud Coffee Press and Scapegoat Review. She loves every month but March, has a bright orange water bottle with her at all times and will race you to finish the New York Times Mini Crossword. She hosts a storytelling podcast called “The Staircase: One Story at a Time.”


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