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The Thing With Broken People by Mathew Lyons

The Thing With Broken People

The thing with broken people is

they let the light out & it’s beautiful,

the light—fierce & fragile—

and sometimes like the sun you can’t look

and sometimes you bask in it—not asking

because you don’t want to ask—

what it is that’s burning.

The thing with broken people is

they bring their own silence to the room

carefully—like a large bowl of iced water

they can’t set down—and all you can do

is admire their concentration—

the white of the skin on their fingers

where they hold the glass bowl tight.

The thing with broken people is

pieces of them are sometimes elsewhere—

scattered by whatever wind blows through them.

Maybe you have a piece yourself

in a carrier bag or box someplace—

or the back pocket of your jeans

after a cycle in the wash.

The thing with broken people is

—if they break easy now like all

fractured things—and heal in awkward

ways—the way some bones mend

broken—every break needs its own kind

of tending—in its own arc of time—

because healing is harder than it is

beautiful—& wears a less bewitching light.

Mathew Lyons

Mathew Lyons is a London-based writer and historian. He tweets at @mathewjlyons. 

About This Poem

The poem is about a group of people I knew a few years ago, all at different steps in the dance – awkward, ungainly and astonishing in equal measure.


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