Cover art by Fynn Wadsworth

Iron and Blood

By Sophia Fritz ’26

LAS 110: Intersections

Sophia composed this poem as part of her final project in my section of Intersections, which is titled “Read Like a Poet.” The poem is well-crafted and vivid, with imagery calculated to elicit a physical reaction from readers. It gives voice to a speaker who is germophobic and experiences intense anxiety when in close proximity to her lover. Sophia was nominated by her classmates to read this poem at the Intersections Celebration of Learning, an event that showcased the highest-achieving work of the first-year class.

-Dr. Valerie Billing

Caress my tea-stained lips with your cracked fingertips
to send shivers across my brittle skin.

The chill shatters my spill gates and raises

the fair hairs across my field of skin.

I yearn for this closeness, but
Keep your hands off me,

or the grime might permeate my pale skin

and transfer fragments of impurity.

Fingernails shuck cuticles like corn,
but this is no farmer’s harvest.

Blood swarms crevices between flesh and nail

as you pull back from my trembling body.

How do iron and blood differ?
They both reek of anxiety and toil

Both thread structures for support.

So, really, they’re quite similar

and remind me to wrap my wounds
under band-aids until they scab over

so your soot and my salted eyes

don’t creep into my bloodstream.

You warm another cup of tea
Knowing that it’s time to go.

Now, I understand that we are like iron and blood.

One, a solid foundation. The other, an escape artist.