​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

​jessica robinson

original sin

it was not swallowing, it was looking /
looking at my own hands and wondering
if they could have been made / to hold something
that would burn / something that would
chafe / wondering if they hadn’t been made to destroy / 
could we call destruction an art form if it wasn’t burrowing
roots in blood? could we really ignore the dirt 
if it was dry / instead of slick with longing / maybe our hands
were made to hold promise rings / maybe
we were promises that were never followed through
on / maybe somebody wanted us and then 
changed / their mind / did you change your mind?
did you spit when you swore you would swallow?
did you leave us behind? did you want to?
I think / something / happened / and no one knew / 
how to tell us / it was not looking / it was being 
looked at / they want us to apologize / to 
their broken hearts it doesn’t matter who did 
the breaking / it never did

our bodies were the original sin—primed 
for looking, only they were never meant to be 
looked at, only beheld in someone’s mind-eye,
someone we had never even met before, someone
with their hand in their pants and a wet lip—
while we stumbled around, blindly touching each other
when we were only trying to feel for the light switch
(I look at a woman—she’s forty-two but she passes
for fifty—and think about how she hasn’t been looked 
at in a terribly long time)
we existed at a time when our nails were too new
to be long, paper that cannot cut—but they prodded 
our bruised bodies with one foot, wondering 
how the pieces held together 
when there wasn’t someone there watching—after all,
who’s to say we exist when there is 
nobody there to tell us that we do? and of course, 
that was our final mistake—believing 
in the dark, and thinking that we could be real inside it,
and thinking that it did not matter that we hadn’t been made
to be looked at

Jessica Robinson is a young Canadian writer based in “The City Above Toronto,” who spends her time watching people and trying to do them justice on paper. She has had poetry published with Bitterzoet Magazine, The Furious Gazelle, and Room Magazine, and is currently a contributor for The Lambda, the Laurentian University newspaper. You can find her on Twitter @hey_jeska.