By Kaylyn Elizabeth May Merrifield – Class of 2015
Damaged teeth and missing hair.
Clothed in dirt like a second skin
Eyes flashing with mistrust
Track marks mapping out the heavens you have reached out to
Or the hell you are escaping from
Who can tell?
The marks of your illness
Lingering out in the open for everyone to look at, but not to understand.
To look at and assign judgment…
You catch my glance and you blurt: “I bruise like a peach” and you laugh
As if the needles mean nothing to you, and we are old friends
You talk to me about the notebooks and the spiders
Then… catching yourself…
In a moment of fevered clarity upon hearing your thoughts out loud
That I do not know what you know,
I too do not see.
I am an outsider.
Stroking, pondering that flesh
The fullness beneath your touch
That rebound that whimpers and whispers to you in the night
Tracing the veins out with your fingers as we talk
Soothing their hunger with promises
Of needles and dreams
As the need grows and gnaws,
Turns sweetness into stranger.
Too soon: time to go.
I touch your arm,
As if I could impart with touch words of caution
Remind you that you are valued
And with the same touch undo what has been done unfairly
The harsh and cruel things that have come before this
And all that lie ahead for you.
You turn and in a rare moment a smile flashes across your lips
Like a tape rewound,
I can almost see what was before this for you…