Hannah Travali-Peacock

they start at my pen unbidden, unwarranted,
covering every scrap of blank space
every time my mind goes blank.
they begin to appear everywhere, always.
a gift, an invader, a guest i didn’t ask for.

they flow from my friend’s hands to my knee and take root,
something deeper than tattoo needles and india ink
criss-crosses under cartilage and fractured bone
constructing braces out of branches and
reinforcements out of leaves.
tying me down or keeping me together?

they flow from me, too,
communicated onto flesh through pens
nicked from grocery store registers or pencils that haven’t been touched
for a year or, if dire, scratches
from nails too worn to make the leaves properly angry-fall-red.
as they smudge and fade away, so do i.
i fear i’ve come to almost rely on them.   

i see them when i close my eyes, a constant reminder
of something i could already never forget.
i didn’t expect to be flying blind or
falling bound here, but here i am
survival but at what cost, at what
time does the clock stop, no, start
counting the days till they can see the sun again.

on my papers.
through my legs.
from my hands.
over my eyes.

Hannah Travali-Peacock is a second-year English and Secondary Teaching student from western Pennsylvania. She’s passionate about representation of disabled characters in literature, writing in lowercase, and the way cats knead blankets.