Elizabeth Hickson


Asha Dore

Twelfth Night

Elizabeth Hickson

He said it would be simple.
Easy, he needed to cut

the extra shadow
from your heart, an area

on the scan edged in gray.
The first night home

your body dripped
dark water.

On the second day
our father

turned your Oxy
into milk, white liquid

he poured down the sink.
Each morning I emptied

your tubes, longed
to leak from my body

your body’s rain.
Instead, I read

the part where Antonio
tells Viola that twins

are like an apple
cleaved in half.

They cut me in half,
you said, letting me

trace a finger
down the metal’s edge.

Rare are things that
do not have clear boundaries—

the blackberry stain
of dusk in Ohio

the border between us
always getting confused.

Remember our game?
Someone would pinch your elbow

& I’d search my body
to find your hurt.

This, too, is how pain travels,
sound through a shared wall

white surge, blind breath.

all things fast & not incredibly violent


of my body

                the ampersand curls &

the sky


                                                                       is closing in again.

                                it is a fact

                                that in the wrong set of circumstances,

                                                                       we can all be who we used to be.

we can skin the animal. somewhere

                                there is a windowless room, an incoming text

a dead phone & no stars. dusk

                drips honey again

& I know a girl

whose father killed himself.

                                                                       boom. on a park bench at lunch.


                let me begin again.

that was inconsiderate.

                                            I am stepping naked from someone else’s shower.

I am not who I said was.


                                            what I remember

                                is moonshine,

                                            the spill

                                                         of his voice asking

                                                                       if he could drive me home.


                                I say to a different man in a different room

                                            that was skins ago.

excuse me, I am trying to remember the suddenness.

I am trying to separate slivers of light.

                                            I’ll only be another minute.

I want to see a map of the whole sky in miniature.

I want you to look at me while I look at it.

Elizabeth Hickson is a graduate of Brooklyn College, where she earned her MFA in Poetry. She is also a graduate of Wake Forest University, where she earned a B.A. in English Literature and received the D.A. Brown Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Originally from Ohio, she currently lives in North Carolina.