Lately, the amp stands with the

red light off and perhaps there is

a brighter shine to her eyes.

Her brother is afraid he will

become fucked up like her as

he grows up and so he stays away

from romance, even when she

teases him about slow dancing.

Her friends are always more naïve

and more knowledgeable than her

: they balance each other out.

She likes pain more than she knows;

she loves knowing she can handle

blood with no tears; boys wonder

at her grit.

They like her body for what it shows;

even when it's dirty with sweat.

She can climb fences with ease and

her fear never shows anymore; sometimes

she wonders if she has any.

Lately, the amp stands with the

red light off because she has no anger left;

all of her energy is in

--

being tough. She makes the blood

taste sweet. She makes pain

almost appealing. This isn't masochism, she says,

it's life.