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when you break your arm

by cryptologenic

Mother bargains
with the eternal summer.


your arm is frozen,
screamed shut by bandages
"just this once” she allows
and just like that—
free salon treatment.


water creeps into your ear canals
and pools there,
later crawling down your back.
your scalp is irritated
from her nagging;
it spills over your head,
almost guillotined on the sink.
but you are grounded by
the jaundiced light bulb above you
staring at it
lips slightly parted
while hands scrabble through your hair:
surveying, searching, scanning
(keep your mouth shut)
and then it's
over, everything is too dry—


what a waste of

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284 Reviews

Points: 1361
Reviews: 284

Sun Oct 31, 2021 6:16 am
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silented1 says...

Such a good poem. It captures the sense of I'm in pain with the youthful I'm fine. It works so well.

I'd cut out the part about the salon treatment. It doesn't really contribute to the poem.

thanks for the review! the 'salon treatment' line was supposed to explain that the persona was getting their hair washed and also give them a sort of sarcastic & ungrateful voice.

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Points: 146
Reviews: 3

Mon Oct 25, 2021 4:11 pm
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CluelessJay wrote a review...

"water creeps into your ear canals"

Before the second stanza should have been a intro to where the water imagery came from.

The way you began the first stanza with a reference to water and ended in the last line with an antonym is beautiful.

"your scalp is irritated
from her nagging"

I really like this line, though the word 'is' cut off the rhythmic pattern following the rest of run on lines.So, just omitting it will do.

That's it from me, keep going and GOOD LUCK.


ah, the water imagery arises since the persona's mother is helping them to wash their hair after they broke their arm.
thanks for the review!

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96 Reviews

Points: 83
Reviews: 96

Mon Oct 25, 2021 3:47 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...

I think this poem is about more than:”breaking your arm.” It’s about so much attention,it’s stifling.It’s no longer love,it’s drowning in pain.You don’t have the ability to speak.You just have to let other people decide for you and it’s a waste.You can’t do anything about your own pain.The tension is too much.This was nice to read.I liked it.I hope you have a good day/night.

mhmm those are some themes i was aiming for! thanks for the review :]

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432 Reviews

Points: 46600
Reviews: 432

Mon Oct 18, 2021 10:17 pm
Plume wrote a review...

Hey there! Plume here, with a review!! And a belated welcome to YWS; I hope you're enjoying it here!

I really enjoyed reading this poem!! I think the isolated moment it focused on was really profound and you did such a marvelous job of describing it. The tiny details you wove throughout were really crucial to the overall terse tone of the poem, but the specific words you used made it super unique as well. Nice work!!

My interpretation of this was that the "you" in the poem had broken their arm and then they couldn't shower/bathe themselves because of the cast (I remember my brother broke his elbow when he was younger and we went to the pool but he couldn't swim at all) so the mother of the person has to do it for them. It also seems like there's some tension with the mother figure in the poem; there's definitely a sense of unease.

I think you did a really great job in your diction choices and sensory appeals. That "free salon treatment" was such an accurate descriptor, and I knew exactly what you were talking about right away. The "water creeps into your ear canals" was so vivid, I swore I could hear the way sound does underwater, and that almost cracking/very sharp transition between being underwater and above water. The "jaundiced light bulb" was also a really nice piece of imagery. Great work!!

One thing I will point out is that the lines between stanzas feel a little out of place. If it was because you couldn't get white space between the stanzas because the formatting on this site is a bit tricky, here's a tip: if you just press space around five times in the white space you want, it should save as white space rather than just deleting the line. Along these lines, however, I also thought the transition between the first stanza and the last one felt unnatural; that might've been the goal, but my brain had to kind of reset before I could read it as complete. It's a bold choice to put at the beginning of a poem in my opinion, especially because it might turn away readers if they get confused right away.

Overall: phenomenal job! I really enjoyed reading this poem, and I think your writing style is absolutely fantastic. I hope to read more of your poems on here soon! Until next time!!

aha thank you for the welcome! everyone here is so nice :3

anyway yep that's exactly what i was trying to convey, i appreciate the feedback %u0AEE %u02F6%u1D54 %u1D55 %u1D54%u02F6 %u10D0

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Points: 255
Reviews: 4

Sun Oct 17, 2021 10:55 pm
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Kz says...

Loved it

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Points: 575
Reviews: 3

Sun Oct 17, 2021 10:26 pm
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fructose wrote a review...

Hi Crypto!!
I really liked this poem of yours, but I hope you don't mind if I suggest some improvements!! I'll keep it short, I have a million things on my plate anyway, so don't worry about it taking forever haha.
Let's begin,,,

Word Choice & Fathomable Descriptions
The first thing that I noticed while reading was that the narrative aspect seemed awfully vague and difficult to understand. It might only be my comprehension as a reader, but the word choice was magnificent; the only thing that was wrong with it was that it had netted the storyline, making the supposed described interaction exorbitantly poetic and less coherent.
In future works, I'd say keep the vocabulary discretion the same, but also taking into account how the viewer may decipher the words you may use. Consider the grasp and vision of the person reading, and ensure that they will know what the circumstance is offering in that situation and plotline.

This is all subjective, I just think that it could make your poetry just a little more enjoyable to a the consumer than it already might be!!

Fluency & Eloquence
I'm not entirely sure if this was a mistake or not, but I did note that some stanzas cut off in odd places, and it seemed to make the fluency a lot more choppy. Even in the opening few lines, quoted below.

Mother bargains
with the eternal summer.

Going back to the first topic, I cant really tell what's going on. The way the lines constantly cut off is bothering in a way, but withal, the sentence "Mother bargains with the eternal summer. While" is objectively confusing. The interrupted stanzas are a repeated pattern throughout the literacy, and it breaks the voluble, immersive experience the reader looks for in such a poem.

Let me know if there's anything I mentioned that was just misunderstood!! I'm open to you clearing things up a bit for my incorrect perception. I hope you take all of this lightheartedly and entirely opinionated!!! I'm not a certified critic or anything, ahha.

I hope you're doing well nonetheless. Have an amazing day!!


nah your criticisms do make sense! i posted this mostly because i think it encapsulates a lot of the... 'offness' i feel towards some of my poems but i didn't i was able to identify exactly what. i totally agree with your comments on coherence, i do feel like i tend to put stuff out there and... pray people will get it haha,,
i appreciate the review :3

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
— Walter Benjamin