Everything is made of shapes
made of loops and lines
Mother said and
my life began to unravel

the string of the world
running out of my pencil
she taught me to hold on
fingers’ pressure

against wood could blur
lead to shadow show
the slow darkening
a candle’s flicker making

strange angles of her face
she said it all fades
is lost to the horizon
she snuffed the flame and

I was falling I tried to
slide inside my letters
p’s open window
the low doorway of an h

but how could I know
words wouldn’t hold me
how could I know
they close so tight?

Copyright © 2019 Matthew Thorburn. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.