“Threads; or I Think This Is a Love Song”

by Natalie Anderson

it’s so vulnerable

to open something up 

(crack a spine, feel a pulse)

and know it’s close to 

someone close to you.

like you’ve cut them open 

and you’re seeing their opaque human veins

spread out and fluttering with their life before you

jumping under your hands like

some starving bird, or

a feral cat.


do you know they used to make violin strings

(before they starting winding metal and synthetic nylons,

zweisamkeit, two alone in one together)

by taking the guts of some stray or some sheep

the intestines, the once-life cords and twisting them

so tight you can bruise your fingerpads on them

ironhard and cold-as-dead and from them,

pulses life.


It’s something like that, I think.


And then (of course) the black to the white

when you must—you choose to—hand over the knife.

Hold the edge of the blade, the duller side and extend the handle, the

only safe part to hold. Make sure that they have a sure grip, 

that they thank you before you relinquish yourself

sure it’s just a tiny piece of your heart, a sliver of your soul but

once you start unraveling, picking at loose threads you

can’t control what comes next. Just hope that the hand on the other side,

those unfamiliar phalanges and metacarpals

doesn’t start you unwinding. 


You can only really fly, 

little kite, 

by trusting (when storms and clouds billow and rage)

in someone else’s tight tense fist 

to hold you to the ground 

circumscribing confines and 

committing you further to the sky.