It's not self harm if you don't know what it is.

I am nine years old, rough sock in hand as

I scratch the skin of my feet apart,

pieces falling off from in between my toes.

I don't know what this is, but I know that it's wrong.

This is the first time I have told anyone about it.


It's not self harm if you don't do it often.

Nine through ten,

twelve through thirteen,

thirteen through seventeen,

years pass when I don't do it until

I'm doing it every month,

every week,

every day,

every hour,

counting minutes until I can feel alive again.


It's not self harm if you don't cut.

Cutters are the scum of the psyche ward world,

and as long as I don't slit my wrist on

a piece of glass, a knife, a razor, a paper clip or safety pin,

I am still just above the lowest of the low.


It's not self harm if you don't scar.

My skin wants to open for years,

but I never let it, leaving marks that fade in

a few minutes,

a few hours,

a few days.

Sweatshirts are not necessary in the summer,

even when thighs aren't yet a canvas.


It's not self harm if you don't bleed.

My skin is raw from keys scratching,



I cry in front of my little sister when she takes away my keys,

and I feel like an addict when I want to die without them.


It's not self harm if you don't have a tool.

I loose my keys for something that's more accessible.

I stop biting my nails when I realize that

they work so much better than metal.


It's not self harm if no one knows.

If no one can see the slowly growing

lines on my arms that cover like a

wallpaper of scabbing stripes,

the ones that match my thighs,

then my problems are just in my head.

It's all just in my head, even though now

anyone can see my depression on my body.


It's not self harm if there's no one left inside.

If the person I used to be is no longer here,

how can it be self harm?

I'm drowning in a lonesome lake.

I'm talking in cemeteries that don't hold my family.

I'm setting fires in an abandoned house,

just waiting for the floors to catch aflame.


It is not self harm if you don't even feel the pain.

I see myself scratch my thighs until

I cannot wear anything but cotton,

everything else keeping my body from healing itself.

It's not even working anymore.

I used to do it for the pain.

I used to do it for the thrill.

Now it's just a collaboration of scar tissue that

litters my wrist and arms and legs and chest,

and nothing has come from it.


Nothing has gotten better yet.

It was supposed to get better.

I was supposed to get better.


My body healed itself when

my body tore itself apart.

Why couldn't my mind

do the same?