branding

I remember sitting with you
hearing the red flame of your lighter click to life
the smallest burst of fire
turning your cold steel blade black, red, white
until all the fire lived in the metal
and I hoped it would hurt you.

Be careful what you wish for.

I remember you looked me in the eyes
before pressing the blade to your skin
one shape for every knuckle and a hiss from your lips
and I felt the pain for you and tried to make you stop.
You told me it was my fault,
I should have kept you entertained.

Be careful what you wish for.

I remember the smell skin made when it sizzled,
the puff of smoke when burning steel touched flesh.
I remember wondering if it would make you hate me less
if it would keep you entertained
to let you touch me with that blade.

Be careful what you wish for.

By the time that blade touched my skin,
it was cold again but no less sharp.
I watched the blood flood down to the handle
and my world got darker and I wondered
if your eyes need blood to see.
Your fingertips were crimson and your teeth sharp
and I hoped with everything I had
that I would just die.

Be careful what you wish for.

The next time my world went black,
it was your hands around my throat
I had time to panic, time to think
about whether or not I wanted to let go.
It only takes once, it seems
a split second panic to know you
never
want to let go.

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ashes to ashes

take special care not to wound me, lover,
for I bleed only shadows and ghosts
and those are stains that just won’t come out
no matter how often you scrub them with time
I can roll up my sleeves and display my scars for you
but the stories they tell are mine to keep
for your acceptance, I am sure, only reaches so far
if you knew how many blades have grazed my skin
and all the reasons I didn’t turn away from those steel kisses
I think names like beautiful, and normal, and good
and phrases like I need you, I love you, I miss you
would fall away from your lips, set themselves aflame
and land in ashes on the pavement, unrecognizable
and I think if I were to stand with you
to watch the edges of that love twist and char and smoke,
it
would
end
me