The numbness spreads like a second skin,
sealing pain and grief within,
beneath the skin, the fires burn,
the hammers beat and the razors turn,
but on the surface, all is ice,
and no one sees you pay the price.
The ritual makes it seem less real,
glinting light on shining steel,
carefully folded tissue, clean,
and music, just to set the scene.
The first slice, shallow, taste of pain,
release draws the blade down, again and again.
The blood wells up and trickles down,
as if it yearns to touch the ground,
to sink into the welcoming earth,
symbolic death, before rebirth.
Rebirth, release, regeneration,
pain returns; with it, sensation.
Crimson red on virgin white,
the sting of air, the metals bite,
all these and more to break the skin,
and let the world come pouring in.
Soon salt tears join the brilliant red,
a waterfall too long unshed.
And after, shame, sharp as a vice,
as those around you pay the price,
in fear, concern, and ignorance,
and once again, the merry dance.
“how could you, why would you, doesn’t it hurt?”
“you scare me, i love you, here’s a long shirt…”
The vows of “No more!” and “Never again!”,
knowing it’s all just a game of pretend,
that somewhere, tucked safely, the sweet release lurks,
it will happen again, as long as it works,
as long as it cuts through the numbness that spreads,
coating the world in blacks, greys…and reds.