you cannot remove pain from your skin, as if it were a tattoo removal. though, i wish it were that easy. i'm aware his fingerprints are not burned around my neck, as if his hands were some unconsensual necklace. i know the bruises around my neck have faded. yet, i still feel them in my refusal to wear a scarf, or a turtleneck. i still feel them in my dreams where everything is as it was. i feel them in my rush to be different, to dye my hair, to ignore my past.