Start open. Start loose and
easy. Let your lines blink in
the sun. Start with the second thing
you ever knew. Draw your fingers together
like circling wagons, then like dancing lovers,
then like puzzle pieces. You should find
at the end of yourself

a solid thing.
Your voice made voiceless and
coiled.
Watch. Your. Thumb.
The most common mistake is to put it
wherever you want and,
as is often the case,
there are consequences for this.
If you tuck it inside the fist
it will break

like a secret breaks the will
against the first thing you aim for.
The safest place can be the most dangerous.
If you wrap it around the outside
of the fist, near the second joint
of your middle finger,
you will crush the nail which will swell
and color like the Missouri sky,
tornado greens and flooding blacks.

The most dangerous place can be the most dangerous.
It’s all about the angles which is
all about the purpose.
You need a flat surface to land so level your bones
between second joint and knuckle
dead flat to your target.
Don’t think about the insults that

tentacle your hot head.
Don’t think about the playground blood
you spilled as they laughed.
Hurt will only blind you.
Think only

of the earth
how it rises in you
how it spins in your blood
despite your stillness.
How it aches to show you the way
home.

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BETH MARQUEZ has been published in Moontide Press, Valley of the Contemporary Poets, and Ugly Mug anthologies. Her poems were selected for Damfino literary journal’s debut issue and the Like a Girl anthology from Lucid Moose Press, which nominated her poem Shedding for a Pushcart Prize. She is a 2017 Pink Door Fellow. She holds three mathematics degrees, has been writing and performing poetry for over her half her life, and was once stranded on a deserted island.

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