Hope is a Dangerous Thing by Shelby Khatami

I have never known

Love to be anything but sacrifice.

It has always come to me on its knees –

begging me to cut myself open.

It demands that I, respectably, hal-

ve myself in two so that this thing may be whole.

It has always come to me as a carnivore

it slurps on the silken sinews from heavy bones.

It comes to the same bones and bre-

    aks them, respectably, in halves.

It has always required me to rip my arms

out from their socket-homes,

It asks me to take them into my drooling mouth

until I vomit the ocean of swallowed tears.

It has taken my blood to paint

benevolence upon shrapnel-sharpened incisor teeth;

It has turned my body into currency,

black-stilled heart, a bronzed coin.

It pays debts with the stars in my irises,

made of fool’s gold – the eyes are worth the most.

It shears the budding roses from my sight,

leaving thorned stamens, the black nectar.

It swallows my skull-rotten eyes after,

simply to poke the tongue into the gaping holes.

It, respectably, cracks the ribs into soft flesh,

breaks my sternum at the bone-seam,

It calls the ravens to the feast, black birds

scavenge the flesh that has turned burnt-black,

It burrows into the wet folds of my grey brain,

crawls into crypt-charcoal atriums of my heart.

When these birds have finished their feast

When I am nothing but bronzed coins

When my bones fold in upon themselves – in upon dust


      You’ll see how hope

was too dangerous a thing

                to hold.

Shelby Khatami


Shelby Khatami is from Sacramento California, she's currently a Junior at NAU studying English with a certificate in creative writing. She spends her free time baking, making art, and making sure her plants don't die. She plans to move to Oregon after graduation and obtain her MFA in creative writing at the University of Oregon.

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