Imitation of Michael Torres’ “The Very Short Story of Your Knuckles” from An Incomplete List of Names by Audra Dale

Imitation of Michael Torres’ “The Very Short Story of Your Knuckles” from An Incomplete List of Names by Audra Dale

About the piece: I wrote this piece for my Reading As Writers Across Media class with Professor Angie Johnson. We had to imitate works from three different poets: Michael Torres, Sandra Cisneros, and Brian Doyle. This particular piece is based off of “A Very Short Story of Your Knuckles” by Michael Torres, from his book, An Incomplete List of Names. I chose this piece because I am particularly drawn to Torres’ down-to-earth and emotional style of writing. This particular poem was full of a sense of nostalgia and wistfulness; the feeling that nothing will ever be the same again. This poem captured my thoughts for quite some time afterward, and I think out of all of the imitations I wrote for this assignment, this is the one I am most proud of.

I really enjoy writing imitations because they help me gain a better understanding and appreciation for the original poet’s work, and also allow me to dabble in different writing and structural styles. I think I often tend to be stuck in a very specific way of writing and every once in a while it’s good to break free and “play” as Angie likes to say. Enjoy!

Or the letters you sent me

after I stopped talking. I 

know exactly what 

went wrong, or at least

I’m well acquainted with

the backflips my stomach does

when I think about all the 

things that could have been

and never will be. No. Let’s start

here: the call you didn’t pick up,

the ringing reverberating 

off of my rib cage and into my 

throat. How easy escape seems.

How sadness always asks

too much of you. Did you see

yourself or was it too dark?

I tried to erase every memory

of you and me. Your name

everywhere like permanent marker;

notebooks of stories we can’t show 

our parents, a purple heart-shaped

stone that glitters in the dark.

It was summer of 2015, the year

I started high school and cut my

hair short. You never wanted me

to cut it short. My confessions

gushed from my mouth like 

coughing up water after almost

drowning. We all remembered

you too well. Your words ringing

in my head—Where did you go?

—I lay in bed and you say

I will come back to you. I only

hope that you will not. I hope

you read the letters you sent me.

I hope you apologize to the paper

you wasted with your empty words.

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