"I can only say it in writing" by Judson Easton Packard


I want to write poems where I hide birds in your body,

giving finches the beauty of your fingers or your heart,

but the birds I love most are already plastered to pavement,

and no one wants to be compared to a corpse. I want to


write poems about falling in love with the perfect person,

as if perfection was a thing my words could breathe

into existence, but my throat starts to tighten

just using the word friend, and I am a much better liar


in person. I want to write poems where the world is bright and alive,

and you read them and then appreciate the small beauty in a shell

or a leaf or the curve of your arm, but I don’t even

like reading those, and I can’t make anything beautiful without


breaking it first. I want to write poems that matter, but ink runs and

if people don’t care when someone is murdered in the street then there

is nothing I can write that deserves more than a passing glance as you

click through more pictures and advertisements than you could



ever follow. I want to write poems that have any message

other than I am broken into some shape that is tragic and clever,

but I only know one trick, and it is how to twist a knot in your stomach

with the parts I leave floating just close enough to see a silhouette.