slice of life

Written by Clare Grey

“…but now these stories are just faded, / dull reminders of the person i once was, / just scratched-out notes on the margins”

***TW: self-harm, needles, medical talk***

every two weeks i stab myself in the leg.
nothing malicious or anything of that kind,
just a small prick into the muscle flanking
the femur to keep my life aligned.
it’s always the same order of things:
swab, stab, take, stab, give, clean,
a process that has become almost
mechanical, a perpetual routine.
it’s not much, just something to
keep the humours under control
as time passes me by until a battered
heart becomes, after too long, whole.
i’ve stabbed myself for many occasions:
stability, chauvinism, a mishap dicing, a silent yell.
my hands and knees hold the marks
of a childhood spent all too well.
but my arms and legs? they hold
novels and memoirs of a past
riddled with countless stories of
a life whose tales are too numerous and vast
to turn into some trite novel or scene
splayed out on a canvas for the masses to view.
no, that story can only be unraveled piece by
tiny piece as the truths just slowly accrue,
the threads of which continue to sew
their way into the present, a plot
yet unfolding and unknown, like those
ancient sisters pulling the thread of fate taut.
but now these stories are just faded,
dull reminders of the person i once was,
just scratched-out notes on the margins
of life, not even something worth giving pause.
i stab myself now not out of fear or hatred
of the person i am not, but instead
out of hope and care for who i will be,
no longer being unknowing or misled.
and it may be that the poetic senses
ingrained on my soul always find a theme,
but i stabbed myself in the past to escape the present,
and now stab in the present for a future dream.

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