"suicide mallory’s white arm was bangled
in red scars. she hid pencils beneath her gown,
slipped out the pink erasers, bit down
the metal sleeves to pretty serrations, carved
an index of incongruences into her skin.
nurses kept her cuffed in gauze. she was lovely
the way agony in the smallest bursts could be.
suicide mallory, hell-bent and permanent,
probably finally ended it. if i hoped to see
anyone of them again: her narrow nose
and a fresh white arm scored with lies
no one can sanitize with betadine."
Published in Winter Tangerine's Reshaping the Bell Jar issue: Borderline
"It’s just that I thought it was one thing to want to die and another thing to pick up kitchen knives.
When you showed me that it was the same thing, I went through an entire season of not even wanting to stand near cutting boards because of the steady chop chop chop. Because of the slice. Removing the skin. Cutting out the bad bits. It’s like watching someone yanking out weeds from the root when you have dandelion veins.
I had a dream a few weeks ago of throwing all the sharp objects in your house onto the roof. I had a dream about burying them in the backyard so you couldn’t lay out treasure maps on your skin anymore."
... The stranger
turns on the radio and when her sleeve falls back
I see the fresh cuts up her arm.
I want to believe they came from a dog
I know she doesn't have. And if I can't wish that
she never made the cuts, I wish that her sleeve
never shifted, that the wounds didn't smile their red smiles
at me as if to say, We will follow you your whole life...
Yes, it started when I was 11. No, I don’t think it ever ended. It was the only way to survive. I had to be small. No, I don’t know what I was looking for. Does anyone ever? Do you? Yes, there are scars. No, it isn’t sad. Fine, it’s kind of sad. Carving my skin was the only way to live inside of it. No, I told you already, I don’t know what I was looking for. Does it matter? Forgive myself? What is forgiveness?
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