When All Else Fails

by James Diaz

body is hard
to find

a place
to crawl into
or out of

on the weight
of your hell

not all scars
tell a story
or were deserved

it’s just the thing
that you carry
and don’t know
what else to call it

where to set it down

how to shut it off

when the hours fill up
so quickly
and all the spaces
between then and now
blur and the bleeding
becomes more than bleeding

like the spirit testing
its escape route
nothing feels like it belongs
to you anymore
you aren’t where you last
put yourself

imaginary hurt

assembling loss
like evidence
that can’t speak
on its own behalf

if you survive
it’s because all else failed
to destroy you.

JAMES DIAZ is the founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in HIV Here & Now, Foliate Oak, Chronogram, and Apricity. His first book of poems, This Someone I Call Stranger, is forthcoming next year from Indolent Books.

Photo: “Scar” by Corrine Brown.