poetry · Recent


It started with pin pricks in the  delicate pads of my finger tips.

Soft flesh gives way, resisting ever so slightly,

to the pressure of sewing needles

sneaked from my mother’s strawberry shaped pin cushion.

No, wait.

It started when my fingers slipped, using

the sharp scissors, reserved for cloth.

Five years old. I just needed to

snip string.

Cold steel slipped through skin. Then

smooth, soft, nearly imperceptible sting.

Enraptured eyes watched red droplets

pool in fingerprints and slip away.

Reverie interrupted by sounds in the house.

I put the scissors back in sheath and drawer,

and slipped finger in mouth.

That taste became secret and sacred ritual.

Rarely brave enough to slice flesh,

I pricked with pins in soft places on finger

tips and backs of knees, tongue tip

and earlobes

slipping sharp pinpoints under layers of skin

and pricking lips biting hard on cheeks

hoping, always, for blood.

Laughing over cuts in the kitchen

or legs sliced by razor blades with nervous

excuses because, well, I’m such a clutz.

Scars on hands and legs are easiest to explain.

Silvered pale lines in flesh of arms, of wrists,

of hips are less easy.

Small bloodstains on sheets invite questions.

It started with scissors, pins, blades,

and progressed to ink and needles.

Buzzzzzing of the tattoo gun, that

first quick prick and hum and scrape against skin.

Vibration generating heat, flesh becoming

raw, exposed, blood-slick.

I breathe in deep and exhale slowly

Reveling in the pain and transformation.

My body, now,  a canvas for art

instead of a post for whipping.

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