A good girl is the solution, not the problem

Put your hand out

I’ll always wear scars
from playing with mom’s BiC razor
in the bathtub.
The blades stuck, almost organically,
like running my fingers over ornamental wheat
on her nightstand.
I was never a cutter, just curious
how something so precise could slice me
the way divorce had
or two different doorbells sounded like home,
never knowing which to answer
as my father’s daughter.

The pillows between my legs were softer.
Objects I pushed inside didn’t hurt like people.
Until that blood bath
where something I touched
didn’t touch me back – it cut
and after that everything became symbolic:
I saw loss in cigarette butts thrown to the curb
Loneliness in clocks counting our time
instead of their own
I learned a mean bark
always masked something trembling.

My father
nicked my fingertips
over and over each time I got closer.
My hands healed
but proved a hungry girl
will always misinterpret
fireflies lingering on her palms
as declarations of love.

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