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by Thomas Rions-Maehren

how can you curse your luck

when every time you see yourself

in a mirror, you smash the glass


with a hammer. you’re Hephaestus,

the ugliest of the divine, banging

blank pages with a mallet, shocked

that your torn paper doesn’t shine

like Achilles’ shield. you


drive down railroad ties

in the places you used to

thrive, as if you could find a train

to take you to the past. a smoke-


storm, and you’re out in the crimson haze

swinging that hammer, saying that

you’re building yourself a home. you bash


down walls and then try to hide,

crumble the concrete foundations

on which you wish to stand. clanking metal


memories; steel puncturing your soul.

they tell you to keep pounding,

your vanity whiffing through the ethereal starlight,

your nude feet bleeding on rubble, rusted nails

and shattered diamonds.

Thomas Rions-Maehren, along with being a new editor at Open Expression Journal, is a bilingual poet, novelist, and chemist. His scientific research has been published in ACS Nano, and examples of his Spanish-language prose can be found in his published short stories and in his novel En las Manos de Satanás (Ápeiron Ediciones, 2022). More of his poetry in both languages can be found in a number of journals, such as The Elevation and Welter, at his blog (, and at his website (
He is on X and Instagram: @MaehrenTom

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