Our Skin Has So Much to Say • Wanda Deglane

you are 13 years old and made of fresh 
cotton- half of you is tied to the sky. the other
half only knows how to fall apart. your friends
are shoving push pins into their hands during
class. they come to school each day wearing more 
and more horizontal lines on their arms like
new bracelets. sometimes they start to spell
the beginnings of words. unfinished thoughts. 
misplaced mourning. you can’t stop your eyes 
from searching for scars. you’re watching warily 
each time your friends come too close to railings. 
a callous teacher tells you, don’t worry. if they jump, 
all they’ll do is break bones. 
so you take matters into 
your own hands, begging them to stop, to
apologize to their own limbs. they blink at you 
like you just don’t understand, and maybe you don’t. 
one night, you dive your fingers into a lit candle 
without thinking. you jerk away immediately, 
terrified at your own boldness. and tentatively, 
you try again, letting flame lick hungrily at your 
fingertips, then your wrists, then all the places 
grief has touched your body. as the fire slowly dies 
out, you lean back into bed, drunk on the smell of 
burning flesh and vanilla, tracing your blisters like 
new constellations in the dark. you’re whispering, 
I’m sorry. this isn’t personal

by Wanda Deglane, from Bittersweet
Originally published by Selcouth Station.