Can Opener

When I think about you trying to open me

I think of a can of tomato soup

It’s the only thing you can afford when you’re so broke

You let strangers into your body.

I think of my can opener, how I can never find it in the gore of underused utensils.

I think of the rust of its blade and how it takes me several tries to open

the can.


You tell me I need to relax,

To lay down,

To live in the moment

But I don’t know how to.

I’ve never done any of those things well because uncertainty feels

Like parachuting into a volcano.

And I can’t relax around people I know let alone someone I just met,

You say I’m scared and you are so right.

I’m scared of what comes after a night when the stars have been plucked out the sky.

Scared of your body like it’s a war zone and every bone could be my murderer.

Scared of love because I know I will break and I know you won’t hear me fall.


In the morning, you are still here but I am not mad because an empty bed hurts more than my tender flesh.

I grab my blanket from the floor and wrap it around you.

I walk to the kitchen and wash my hands that had become arthritic from pushing you away.


I sit on the couch and drink cheap coffee.

I curl my toes into my feet and shut my eyes.

And I act like this has not happened this time or any time before,

Like when my eyelids close, there is a pulsing light,

scanning the waves for life

in this dark ocean.

Katelyn Durst
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