The Problem of Dido - Sarah Bricault

I have only these hands,

the span of my palms

in which to hold you


ten fingers to cup and cradle your curves

trace the lithe stretch of your spine


but how, how do I hold you —

hold up

hold on

hold back

hold true


how do I hold the all of you?


the vast expanse of your mind,

your philosophical muse

your bright-feathered wings of ambition


how do I hold the all of you

without it being a leash

or an anchor?


I want to ground you,

but not tie you to it

I want to settle you

without letting you settle


if I cut myself into strips, razor-thin

pieces of me, could I hold you then?

could I twine myself around every facet

of your undeniable beauty?

could I hold you then?


but if the roundness of my lips,

the curve of my thumbs on your hips

the subtle softness of my love

is not enough —

is anything?

Sarah Bricault has a PhD in neurobiology and works as a postdoc in that field. Her poetry often explores her struggles with anxiety and depression, or her fascination with the mind and how it processes information.

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