Making Scars of Skin

The first time I did it, I was madly
in love; shocked that bliss could cut
so deep, thrust itself with such force
into the chest. I took a knife, carved

her name into my arm, capital letters
jagged with joy; wept hard knowing
that despite warm kisses, nothing is built
to last. Still so young, I understood: Loss

comes entangled in love; insists its way
into little known spaces, forcing skin open
and once inside, seals the doors, never
leaving. I have tried to make bloom

new wounds to usher loss out, sliced
through time, into flesh, smelled blood
as it dripped down my body; cells, proteins
sugar and metal: You were never enough

to contain me; you, grabbing at my ankles
as I tripped up basement stairs, thighs
spilling red, heart pounding, me thinking
Look at this body that loved you. Watch

as that same love drains out. You are wrong,
just like the rest of them; I do not need
help from someone who thinks me
a time-slot, catchphrases to keep me

pinned to sanity. What I need is you,
when I switch open the blade, to cup
your hands against the pain, knowing
that I am right, that there is no soft way

to love, no love that does not split flesh
like firewood, burning hollow spaces into
bone and sinew, making scars of skin before
either of us has even begun to walk away.

by Tania de Rozario
from Tender Delirium (2013)