“The Underground Man” by Hannah K With Artwork by Julie C

He hides between cold stares

and nonchalant contortions of face

Pretends if you plunged your best kitchen knife

into his flesh

he wouldn’t feel the skin tear

 

He convinces himself

his heartbeat doesn’t crash against his eardrums

He doesn’t feel the spark

swirling up his spine

when his fingers touch hers

He used to declare his emotions to the world

until this thing called growing up

hit him like a tsunami

and he could feel the crushed villages and broken houses

inside of him

The suffering consumed him like fire burns ash

And he never liked the smell of smoke

 

So he decided to camp out in the underground

of his soul

beneath first memories and pigments of a dusty heart

Tucked joy and sorrow into his polished briefcase

and closed it shut

He fell asleep between muscles and nerves

and tried to never wake up

Pretended he didn’t feel the forces of the world

As if there were no gravity

 

But all actions have gravitation

and as much as he calls himself

The Underground Man

He can never forget how to feel.