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poem /evan burkin

Stitched Light

Consider the possibility that two people have had sex wherever you are right now.

It’s just a thought, which can be a dandelion-white plum or a tongue of electricity.

Either way, a thought is a form of light in my head capable of permeation.

As all thoughts are forms of light, I’ve learned sign language to successfully communicate inside the crowded light of my mind.

When the outside is ruptured by my inner light & my eyes strain to follow the moth-bitten patterns, I practice the art of absence.

A ground brimming with lemon peels is proof of leaves.

The spaces between silences are birds, laughter, Beethoven’s third.

Light is an ache for all that isn’t.

Grandfathers are just stories in my household.

Because they are not here, my family builds them with words, which have so many silences that I find myself in a solid room of light, completely lost, when the story ends.

When everything has been bleached by the light of too many thoughts, I try to imagine my grandfathers embracing me.

This hasn’t been very successful.

Until the other day, when someone read poetry in a candlelit circle & light streamed toward my face as a flawless yellow lane to pierce my head, I didn’t know that I was alive in the absence of my OCD.

I had it all wrong for so many years.

Even numbers can fracture.

When I first tried to run away, I couldn’t remember if I locked the door.

I need to always be able to account for the location of my hands.

There is a strength required to wake up, make breakfast, and leave on time.

Calluses are born from stringing the laces of shoes over and over and over again.


Evan Burkin (he/him) is fond of authors who delight in breaking language open, like Will Alexander and Diane di Prima. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. His work has been published or is forthcoming in THRUSH, Rain Taxi, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, The Madrigal, Sur, Inklette, and Ayaskala.

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