Line Edit

“This line,” she says, “sounds like it’s just some schmuck with a razorblade.”
And that’s the problem, isn’t it?
That’s what I am, just some schmuck in a bad pop song,
some girl in a ballad who’ll die by verse five
from just one broken heart.
Here I am, a cautionary tale I told myself,
here I am, my brain narrating nonstop escape plans,
like tree to crash into, pills, knife, bridge, river, tree,
and it won’t shut its stupid self up.
Here I am, with whatever sharp metal I can find
tearing scratches into my arms just for the burn,
here I am, counting tablets in my shaky palm,
and I can’t even breathe, such a simple thing,
even a mouse can do it, even a fly.
And that is so exactly the point,
because I only feel in hyperbole,
only react in cliché, because whoever
is screaming and sobbing and thrashing
and sizing up the breadth of every pine along the state highway
isn’t me. It’s some schmuck I don’t know,
some schmuck charging off in my body,
and I don’t know how to put myself together,
I don’t know how to cut that line.

Claire Hermann lives in a little house in the woods outside the small town of Pittsboro, NC, where she raises funds and tells stories for progressive nonprofits. Her work appears in such publications as Borderlands: Texas Poetry Journal, Lines + Stars, Bracken, Southern Women’s Poetry Review, and Prime Number. She has a weakness for cats, farmers markets, foggy mornings, and justice. Find her at www.ironclaywriters.com.


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