how to address a scar

I didn’t expect you to be here this long.

I was in math class, grade ten and you were just supposed to keep me from jumping.

When James B. told my best friend, Drew in 12th grade, that I should just kill myself already, you kept mocking me with your inability to go away.

I didn’t know you’d grow louder in the summertime, from sun baking you into a starring role on my arms.

My mother remembered a commercial for a cream that could be rubbed on scars to vanish them away. “They may not disappear completely,” she said, “but at least they won’t be so visible.” I cried that night, realizing how forbidden you are.

I was dressed in just skin and water, in a bathtub that belonged to me due to monthly rent payments and name on mailbox. When I was a kid, it was the water, which washed away my chalk drawings; I thought maybe it would wipe away the carvings on my hips too.

Hello. Yes, I remember the first time. And I also remember Rachel, from the mental hospital, teaching me other ways to push myself off ledges after all the sharps have been taken away.

No, I really meant it when I said that I find scars sexy, because it is a reminder we have given ourselves permission to falter.

Age nineteen, I am in the only car I ever owned—a green Honda Civic I titled: Quentin Antoin McKenna. At the gas station, the attendant looks at my forearm as I hand him a ten-dollar bill and he makes a comment, which reminds me there is no escaping this billboard of sadness.

I am engaging in an activity that some people call sex and the one pressed against me grabs my wrist and rubs callused thumb against what is raised. Calls it braille. Asks to read the rest of me.

You twitch each time you see others like you. Thunder against my skin knowing how similar we all are. How sad we all are. How in need of other languages we all are. How loud we all are. How brave we are. How desperate we are to survive and yet desire to die we all are. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How. How.

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