Forbes and Fifth

Carbon Chains; Skins

Carbon Chains

This is our graphite anniversary

Because we'll never really meet.

We are two sheets of the same substance

Rubbing past each other, clinging

Together with the fakest of efforts:

Small talk, casual jokes, mutual friends.

We're so close but neither

Of us could bend one inch to

turn around, connect our hands

And feet and be diamond.


I want you to see that if you rolled us up

And scratched us against paper,

You'd have a pencil, you'd have

Something I could write with.

Do you know how covered in gray I am?

There are smudges all over my hands

From this graphite, which means that

I've worked so hard and

I'm still just a mess.


This isn't one year from anything at all.

If a diamond marks longevity

Well, graphite is the opposite.

Maybe I could try to touch you, but

My hand would slide right by.

So time can't count us.

We are gray stains, flaws that,

Put in the right order,

Tell me who I'm not.



I burnt my forearm on a light bulb. It was one of those black light bulbs That make your teeth white.

I reached up to adjust The line it hung on

And all of a sudden I was burnt.


The burn was big and wide, A perfect, round, red dime.

It looked like the type of burn Boys get when they hold cigars To their skin and grit their teeth. But it wasn't like that.

It was an accident.


Watch yourself heal some time. The burn will start out white, With little red dots.

But the dime crater grows skin, Layer by layer.

And the layers looked different: Shiny, matte, brittle.

Until inally you grow this little Patch of blush that never fades.


Watch yourself heal.

You won't believe it until you try it. Watch your diamond bones assemble,

Your steel skin stretch across stone muscles. I want to open up like a textbook diagram.

I want to see all the parts of me

That I'm told are there, but have never found.


A burn like that one on my arm, It hurts for a while.

You're concerned about infections, And other pain that lasts.

But I've seen this skin tie knots,

So I'm pretty sure it can take a beating. I've heard my lungs catch up and my heart Calm down.

And they did all that without me even asking. It seems like I can handle it.

So don't feel bad, Burn me.

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Volume 1, Spring 2012