Slashes and cuts and bruises
You tell me I’m fine and I believe you
I press bandages to my skin and pretend.
Always pretending, always acting
Always saying I’m fine.
It began with a nudge, a slip,
A gentle flick to the ear.
A tongue, a voice, a honeyed sound that
Slipped into my dreams and cradled my skull-
Until you dropped me suddenly, disappointed when I
Didn’t do as told.
They came often then, thorns and glass in the corners of
My body, so that each time I moved I could not help but
Press them deeper into my skin.
The first punch was quick, almost painless
So that I lay in bed and ran my tongue over it,
A rotted tooth that spoiled and
Dripped sour down my throat.
The first kick was sharp and jabbed
To the ribs, between the bones with steel-toed boots.
The first cut was different
It stole blood, so that you put it to your mouth and tasted
Savored the iron and salt I made for you.
When your fingers finally curled around my throat,
Something occurred to me.
Did it matter if I was so bruised and battered on the inside
If all anyone ever saw was the outside?
"Better off dead."
Did it matter if I bled or oozed or dripped with hurt
and hungered for love, if no one saw?
You didn’t like what you saw, you never did,
And you were the only one who saw the scars and
mutilated heart. So as long as no one saw,
No one would know. No one would ever know.
Not when my fear wasn’t enough
Not when my pain wasn’t enough
Not when everything I had to give and more wasn’t enough.
As long as no one knew how pathetic I was,
How **** and scarred and utterly disgusting I was on the inside,
Then it didn’t matter.