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Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble. His seventh collection, Tell Us How to Live, is forthcoming in 2024 from Fernwood Press.

“What Really Broke Me?”

question asked by Andrea Fekete

Man hands. Mom hands. God hands,
gods, the golden glorious dark
of nonexistence, nothing.

Nothing hands are the cruelest—
so much space in them for taking.

Hands of strangers. Hands of friends
gripping shivs sanded down from tchotchkes,
regifting hurt held once, unwanted.

Could fill a life with all the hands
that squeezed too hard, the others
that released when touch was best.

Your life clasps so many harmful hands
it must be a hand as well,

crushing you like a bag of glass,
twisting off the lid of your jar.

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