Look up: A poetry collection

Pixabay/Creative Commons


How to find something lost:


Before the man is hung by the strings of wrong letters,

Before someone realizes the quarter is hidden behind the thumb,

Before the jagged line down the middle of the heart comes true,

Before the dog stops barking,

The swing rusts,

The roller blades don’t fit,

The tree house is replaced by a parking lot,

The history books remind of violence, fear, hatred.


Before all of this…

Take the thing that will be lost and swallow it.



The more time I spend under the bright and glistening heat of the sun, the more my flesh becomes littered with sprinkles.

Kisses from the sun my mother tells me.

The boys in fourth grade are scared of me because I tell them each freckle is a

soul that I have sucked out of a body.

My best friend tells me they are unique.

I think they look like chicken pox.

My mother tells me they are kisses from the sun and straps a baseball cap across my head.

“Make sure to wear sunscreen!” she yells as I leap out the door into the glow of

afternoon bicycle rides.

No matter how much sunscreen I let seep into my skin, it always remains a dim shade of pink. When I’m cold, the skin on my legs turns blotchy and purple. As if the cold is




My body needs warmth.

Kisses from the sun my mother tells me.
(I think they look like chicken pox).

He traces my body with gentle fingers and tells me they are constellations.

Kisses them,

Loves them.

Kisses from the sun.



We’ve been missing each other our entire lives.

We shriek across our own separate glaciers,




Imagine if our worlds had collided.


Infinitely happy is something

We could have been.

– Letter to someone I’ll never meet:



I wandered through a cloudless city and held my breath. The sky a hurtling blue — the deepest of blues — an immensity of blue.

Like his eyes.


Not like his eyes. To me, his eyes are nothing. Least of all as blue as this sky.


In this city crawling with silence, I shiver. It reminds me too deeply of the silence he left behind. I’ll find myself looking back through messages imagining a person sitting at the other end, thumbs lingering over the keys.

A hesitant,

A needy,

An expectant, (…)

To be waiting.

But no. It is only myself reflected back in the screen.


I wandered through an empty city.

No trash rustles against curbs,

No shoes scrape against sidewalk,

There are no people.

   No body heat.

I cannot smell perfume or sweat or pain.

Only concrete. Only metal. Boxed inside but for an empty sky.


Empty in the way that I felt walking away,

on the car ride home,

during the move,

after the move.

I can’t feel my heartbeat and it scares me.

I’m afraid he has swallowed it whole.

Stolen it from between my lips with his slitted tongue.


In this city, grown from precision, out of a box, I feel small.

The only organism that lives and breathes without smoke I


but it echoes.

I smash fists against windows, rip down telephone wires with my teeth, scratch at the white traffic lines with bleeding fingers.

Eat glass.

Swallow stone.

Chew gravel with grinding and blackened mouth.

I levitate with rage. Rage that he left me, that I let him.

But I am alone in this city and my body is tired of anger. It longs to drift into the cloudless sky of deepest blue that is nothing

Like his eyes.



I think that I am in love with skin more than anything else.

The way the light hits it…

The greatest sense of warmth I can imagine. Wrapping our very bones, muscle, sinew, with heat.

Skin for miles. How long would it stretch if we unraveled it from ourselves? A thin carpet to the moon.

Why the invested search for a person’s heart when their skin is so near to our quivering fingertips?

I say forget the heart.

Drag your fingers across their body.


Then walk together upon a carpet to the gilded moon that hovers among sensitive stars.



I’ve tried to pray before.

Bent my knees and whispered secret words to a God I’ve always doubted.


Flung pieces of my desperation at the transparent face the world has tried to convince me is a man.


I’ve asked questions that were never answered.

Cried, but had to wipe the tears from my skin.

Screamed, but my voice dried up on its own.

Held out my hands, but received nothing.

Asked for forgiveness, but still felt guilty.

Lusted for love, but wasn’t given the strength to love myself.


But still I have prayed.

Clasped my hands tightly enough to convince myself another hand is squeezing back.


Sometimes I’ve wondered if eternal damnation is something I’ll get to look forward to. And I’ve wondered if the God I doubt believes that hell is not a remedy for hate.


I’ve wondered, and wondered if my wondering has invalidated the parts of myself I’ve revealed to this God that I doubt.


To pray is to give something of myself away. To blindly throw a penny into a wishing well.


I pray knowing that I know nothing at all. Nothing about this God, nothing about how to heal the broken parts of myself, nothing about what is real and good and true.


I could pray until the sun fades into night, until this house falls down and the trees are replaced. But I still don’t think that my God would answer.


Because my God doesn’t give answers away. She knows that the path to healing is, in fact,


the Path.


I don’t think I should doubt this God.



She scoops crabs from sand in the same way that she will come to scoop flour from the bag.

There will be a day in her life when she dreams of crashing waves and is taken back to


five years old.


To the bucket and the moat built with bare hands in five minutes that she has been attempting to rebuild her entire life.

To cold feet and froth. To skin and sand and a mother’s yell. To freckles and sunburns and hat brims that couldn’t touch the length of the sea.

Dreams change shape and she is underwater. The wave is crashing and she is swallowing salt. She’s sinking and dappled light doesn’t exist. Looking up, it is dark and moving and growing. The next wave looms over suddenly still water and she imagines a wolf’s howl. Lonely black against the night sky, it falls upon her eyes like a shroud.

She wakes up to a black ceiling.
But her mind is studded with reflected stars.

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Contact Aliya Haas Blinman at [email protected].

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