The poetry of Shawn Van Horn

Clay in Hand

Dear sculptor,
as I lift these weights to lift the weight of her out of me,
I ask that you use your clay in hand to build a new me.

Lay a thick block over my chest to cover and hide my heart
and protect it from harm.
Broaden my shoulders so that I may be able to carry the weight.
Widen my back like a shield so that I can turn away
from the pain when it’s all too much.
A big clump on my biceps please,
another on my triceps,
so that it will be easier to lift myself up when I fall.
Cut six solid slices and lay them over my stomach,
so that I can withstand her punches.
Make my legs like tree trunks,
so that I am strong enough to walk away.

Take a handful and shove it down my throat,
so I can’t call out to her.
Wrap it around my fingers to stop me from writing to her.
Whatever you have left,
jam it in my ears,
so I can’t hear her tell me it’s over.

I am transformed,
pain turned inside out.
What a piece of work.


Shawn Van Horn currently resides in Sidney, Ohio. He has had poems and short stories published in Our Time is Now and Wilmington Blues. He has written two novels and just started on his third.

One comment

  1. I liked this sly,sad poem by Shawn Van Horn. My only suggestion would be to use the clay jammed into the ears, not to muffle the sound of an ending, but rather to block the unnamed lover’s later pleadings to return
    when the “the piece of work” finally chooses to walk away from their painful relationship.

    Like

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