it started with a friend
he’d tried it. suggested i didn’t do the same
there wasn’t any kick, he said
it was just uneasy pain.
something was ignited. months later
i thought i’d try it myself. just to see how
it felt, on a night of desperation. carefully
selected the spot. i’d avoided it up to now
but i made the mark. warmth fell over my fingers
cold steel against the skin. cleansing the wound,
i fell asleep soon afterwards. the feeling lingers —
i dreamt of it. the morning after, i groomed and moved on
until the next night. and the next. no, it wasn’t
the end of the world. just a new way to escape it
and i couldn’t be blamed. besides, i knew it’d have to stop.
it turned into an addiction. night after night, the scrape
of blade against skin. soft red blood on my upper left arm.
i kept it as much to myself as i could. why should anyone else know?
it was my second life, a way of dealing with the first
until one moment where i knew it had to let it go.
i’d grown out of it, and i wanted to throw it away.
i ramped myself off it. making the cuts, but lighter by degrees.
every one was going to be the last. until the one which was —
two days after my birthday. i was free!
yes, the cravings still returned,
and sometimes the cuts burned.
but i’d decided to stop, and that was it.
i still have scars, long narrow slits,
but they’re fading.
all i had to say was no.