Poems and Texts

“band-aids & other temporary healings” by Trace Howard DePass

Lydia Cortés, Trace Howard DePass, & Sara Larsen
Monday, September 23, 2019

band-aids & other temporary healings

i don’t think there comes an inherent healing
_____with poems or with time.

i was once so triggered i thought i was home
i got comfortable i took off my bag my jacket
____each layer ___from off my shoulder
until i unzipped & was sitting on my own skin
___in the dark so long
it could only have been a chair, wherein
my skin hangs _____ ass over the armrest
for decoration,_____ growing eyes out in
_____this silence, like a passive God,
and yet everything_ was just_ still there,
_________________________________________like my
eczema, which i scrape from so long,
_______i pull from scabs the scaffold
with a bike attached by my project/building.
_____yes, i did_______ thumb through all (t)his
belt that made the brown a darker brown &

i said it fertilized my flower bed some days,
_____knowing some days that it would not.
&, yes, this whole thing’s a garden. it(ch)-
the scaffold contraption, with its chains, lock,

& self, ______________________ clings to iron
________like how mothers do
the good child after losing custody____ i’d say
each bike,_ hugging the scaffold,_ was & is me.
_______and it was here –


_______i asked to be let out of me
for so long in my room that, in the interim,

a boy got his wish for death, got born again,
woke up in a new mother’s arms, & then,
again, he still handed us his newest intercom
eulogy. & although we knew ________each
mother wanted every moment he could have
been to rupture the eardrums
_____of a passive God,____ all we asked for was
a moment/of silence. people be counterintuitive.
but, this,___ this one time i died for so long,
while i became a quantum thing__ so broken
in its compartments
light could not ____emit, i thought i was giving
out a healing/a poem/a love but fell instead
and kept falling until __every orifice of me
shifted_____ to red
and then translucent________ and________ then,
“what was
_____his name?” whoever he was, he was
who i was then[?”] giving empty space,
paradoxically warm, with a mouth so good,
_________God undid me. and i kept going.
knowing what i wanted was
a whole body again,______ all i asked for was
_____to be/undone.

how mother dusting off her son’s casket
with wail begins to have an a’ight day,
within an archive of stillness & still-
together, i am still/here….

Trace Howard DePass

Trace Howard DePass is the author of Self-portrait as the space between us (PANK Books, 2018) and editor of Scholastic’s Best Teen Writing of 2017. He served as the 2016 Teen Poet Laureate for the Borough of Queens. His work has been featured on television and radio—BET Next Level, Billboard, Blavity, and NPR’s The Takeaway—and in print—Anomalous Press, Entropy Magazine, Platypus Press, Split This Rock!, The Other Side of Violet, [SAND] Journal, and Bettering American Poetry (Volume 3). DePass is a Poetry Foundation, Teaching Artist Project, & Poets House Fellow. He works as a teaching artist for the Climate Museum, Urban Word NYC, & Community Word Project.

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