Love Me Knots


like he was taking off a hoodie
from the inside not out
he took off his skin to show
me his insides. they were
red like apples and pink
like flowers and even a 
little bit purple like me — i swear to 
God, i’ve never been more in love.
white picket fence

when i die
i don’t want to have been
an awful person or worse yet
a bad American

long after 
the bruises on my pallid skin
the cuts in my brittle bones
have turned dust

i’ll still be known
by Sam our Uncle
for having that mark
— a bad credit score
explain it like i’m blind

the red of a cheek
flush from the warmth
of a fire built
in spite of the cold
is the color of love
here comes the airplane

when i was a child
my mom hated to fly,
thought devils lived in the clouds.
(they were in her head)

i was often by myself
waiting in the sweaty seats
watching people land and take off.
(they were concerned gazers supreme)

i would play a game
where the planes in the distance
and the ones in taxi would race.
(they were always nail-biters)
huntress at dawn 

the cat of infinite death jumped 
from the couch to the sill that cold 

morn. it shook me awake.
she stared down from that 

oaken perch at, wrapped in another’s 
clothes and limbs shaking, me

a trifling slug.
i saw her prepare to leap onto 

my chest, unable to move. 
that weight of a life full 

of mistakes would have 
with no remorse stolen

the beat of my own drum i’d
danced to for years. 

i barely heard it:
the dull chirp of an angel 

a songbird saved me my fate, a date
with death that cold morn.

the cat’s head cocked right
tastier prey awaited

outside. if not for that bird
the loss of whose life gave 

me mine back, i could 
not, would not be here to 

tell you all how on that cold
cold morn, so awful it was to be 

a trifling slug. 
i haven't used since.

Ryan Matisons Wood is an amateur poet recovering from addiction in Appalachia. He has one poem “Only (some of my faults)” that has been selected for publication prior; it will appear in the December 2023 issue of Yearling, a Lexington, KY working poet’s journal. He has collected records for 8 years and his favorite butterfly is Jamie.