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Hurting, Hurting

I’m not apologizing / when I offer my head to the leash // of your hands

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
October 5, 2021

It’s been months since the last time I came
             home, which is maybe why my mother accidentally
gave me a collar for my birthday.

             Seeing it at the mall
made her miss me, and it’s not fair
             that these days, missing me

is the only way of loving
             me that I give to my mother. I ask her
which part of using an animal’s skin to fence

             in the neck of another animal reminds her
of me, exactly, even though I keep
             telling myself I’m not going to be mean

anymore. Now you know
             just how bad I am
at hurting, hurting which I know

             to be a kind of love and thus, too,
a kindness. I’m not apologizing
             when I offer my head to the leash

of your hands, but kneeling
             at your waist, a part of me
is always saying sorry to my mother.

             If I’m being honest, it doesn’t matter
to me if there is violence in the leather.
             wouldn’t be able to feel

the difference. Some nights, I even dream of wearing
             your fist inside my mouth, your ring
finger glossed in spit.

             And then I inherit what my mother has
always known: without the body,
             every piece of jewelry just becomes

another hole we imagine
             being filled by someone
we love.