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be the person you needed when you were young (while knowing it can’t save you then)

I love when poets say
“What I’m saying is…”
because it makes it easy
to know what they’re saying,
and I think of all the kids
in classrooms who don’t like
interpreting poetry having
a much better time.

What I’m saying is
the only thing stopping me
from making a bracelet
out of those letter beads
that says “I know it might seem like
I don’t care about things as much
because I’ve stopped saying
I’ll do something “even if it kills me”

but really
I just don’t want to die anymore.”
is that my arms aren’t long
enough. I’m thinking of
being a kid and the people
who let me have a better time.
I want to make it easy.

I’m thinking of the fact that
the only thing stopping me
from making a bracelet listing
every type of love
is that there aren’t enough beads.
What I’m saying is I’m so glad
you asked me to sign your deed poll.
I’m so glad you have your name.


Alex Russell is a nonbinary poet and an editor at Placeholder Press, who is
currently working on being the happiest they’ve ever been. Their tiny
chapbook about cryptozoology and queerness, Unknown Tracks, is available
for free via Ghost City Press.

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