My handkerchiefs are stained
as though I have been suffering
all my life,
but instead of blood staining the cotton
a crimson Rorschach test,
it is the black of India ink.
She pressed a needle into my skin,
and I think the color seeped into my bones.
Now, I am fated
to spill ink wherever I go.
My scribblings have found home with me
(like shadows, like fireflies
inside of a Mason jar).
Even when I was locked inside of a cellar,
threatened with the rust of blood
and the tarnish of my reputation,
I carved poems into my mutilated flesh.
A dragon guarded my door,
false love glimmering in his eyes
(lust poisoning his tongue,
naïveté curling around me
like a lonesome lover).
The taste of gasoline numbed my soul
and left me begging for an exorcism.
(I never knew the Latin word for surrender,
yet I pleaded with the demons for the fruit of knowledge.
Desired for them to vacate
this hollow body,
but they traveled the miles to remind me.)
The more ink I spill,
the softer their wailing becomes
until their keening is their own elegy.
I will never forfeit these words again.
(I will not neglect them
like a surrendered child
because some call them an obsession.)
I might never shatter the walls
of this foreign heart,
but give me a fountain pen
and I’ll wield it like a sledgehammer.