Hannah Dellabella

The Year of Metal and Blood


you do not recognize the first addict
in your life. when adults warn you
about addiction, you think
plastic bags filled with rainbow pills,
powder aligned by the clack
of credit cards against a mirror,
the clatter of empty bottles.

no one tells you about blood,
that people can learn to love a razor blade
the way others admire mirrors
peppered with powder.

no matter what adults tell you,
sometimes there is nothing
you can do.


in January he gives you the burden
of his well-being. you try
to summon the right words
from your indifferent keyboard;
every message comes out as a plea
for your best friend to stop cutting.

he allows you
to take his razor hostage.
you see the metal in your hands
as a victory — at fifteen,
it seems that simple. he returns
three days later, drenched
in withdrawal.
you do not
return the razor until
he raises a fist.


on a cold night in May
he will not go home. you sit
with him for hours on your porch,
wriggling your toes in the chill.
when you ask him how bad it is,
he hikes
his shorts pasts his thighs:
scars, fresh and fading.
you think of tic-tac-toe
of childhood scribbling
of running away.


when you ask
if anyone else knows,
he says his mother
found his razor.
he told her
he did it once
just to try it.

she believed him.


in August at a sleepover,
you two are the only ones
awake, hissing at each other
in violent whispers.
he stares in your direction
without seeing.
when he digs the razor
into his flesh,

his shoulders sag in release.

Heavier Than Air

for Traver, Jake, and Henry

Our bones are not
hollow; their marrow
keeps us grounded.
Some people wish
for avian biology;
they gaze at infinities
of sky like an invitation
or an escape plot.

They climb to the highest
floor, trying to build wings.
They carry knives
in their pockets, severing
anything that could tie them
to this earth. Carving
out their insides, they make
themselves less and less
until they believe
they are birds.

They test their wings
from the perch
of a seventh-story window
or a chair beneath a noose.

It has been a bad year
for flightless birds.

© Hannah Dellabella

Hannah Dellabella works as an assistant editor in New York City. She is a recent Carnegie Mellon grad, where she studied creative writing and professional writing. She is a native of Bayonne, New Jersey. Her work has previously appeared in Torrid Literature Journal, Rougarou, Albatross, Melancholy Hyperbole, jmww, Seltzer, and the Of Sand and Sand anthology by Kind of a Hurricane Press.

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1 thought on “Hannah Dellabella”

  1. i think this could just as well b prose

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