by Grace Hopps

On each of our three first dates
we bake. Your father’s split
knuckles never taught you how
to split an egg, but I always glaze
my gingerbread men with the yolks,
so I show you how to break
the shell and shift the broken
home from side to side
until all that’s left is yellow.
Why do we say things that spill
bleed? Is it the visual or the
feeling, the thrill we get
from slipping, hearts
dripping down our sleeves?
When you leave—and I know
you will leave—will you
think of the way my heart
didn’t beat, how I
didn’t breathe? Will you love
what stayed sheathed?

A half-dozen little plates
cover my kitchen table, one
in every color of the rainbow.
We sit and paint, food coloring
nding every line in your skin,
and when you try to carve
a gingerbread heart, the knife
comes away red. I cut the limbs
off my little men.




Grace Hopps is an undergraduate student at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. When she's not studying English, she writes songs and plays online solitaire.