Oath of Identity

Celine Gauge


I remember when our hands first met.

when my blood melted holes in the snow,

and yours fell thick on the dry pavement.

a twin set of open wounds, freely weeping.

are we really back here again?

the crossroads have lost their charm.

weeds have grown where footprints once bent the earth

toward creations we buried: lumps of crooked bones

encased in borrowed skin, quilted to mask any familiarity.

was it the cold that made our hands numb to the shovel

or the gasoline we used to burn away our fingerprints?

you drained me so eagerly, each time your knife dragged

across my palms, facing out like the marble statues

of saints standing in churches we never bothered to visit.

together we sparked fires, yet they burned nothing but us.

like tar-filled chimneys, we opened our mouths

and released the smoke. it held clarifications only we could see,

yet they left us more blind than before.

I’ll never stop trying to trust you,

and when we split our skin, we will meet where we bleed.

we will make the promise again.

Celine Gauge is an undergraduate student at Penn State Behrend where her poetry has been recognized in contests such as the Sonnenberg Poetry Contest, and she helps review submissions for Behrend’s Lake Effect. She is currently working toward her BFA in Creative Writing and BA in Psychology. She is active in working toward creating a more sustainable and welcoming campus environment through various student organizations.