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RED - a slam poem



***The following post has a trigger warning for self harm. Though based on factual events, I am currently 75 days clean from self harm. Please take caution when reading this as it is very graphic and detailed.***


One cut. 

It's not that deep. The sting is there, the blood trickles, the metal gleams in the light. I think to myself, 'what have I done?', but it's too late to go back now. I press on. 

The second cut is a bit deeper. 

There's more blood this time. It bubbles up in dots across the line where I tore my flesh apart. It hurts, but I can't feel anything else. The rest of me has gone numb. I press on. 

Cut three is deeper. 

The more I cut, the deeper I go. More blood, more pain, more burn, same blade. My eyes are filling with tears that stream down my face and spill into the lacerations, It burns. I feel alive. I press on. 

Cut four. 

Cut five. 

Cuts six, seven, and eight. 

How many more? 

The blood is starting to run together and trickle across my skin. I've lost track of where I am. I don't know how much time has passed. All I can see is the massacre I've created on my skin. I rush to the bathroom where I let the blood drip into the sink. I look in the mirror and I suddenly don't recognize the face staring back at me. She looks sad. Face red, eyes swollen, snot dripping. 

All I see is red. 

Red tally marks, red sink, red arms smeared with red liquid. Where did this come from? Why did I do this? 

The burn is setting in. The pain is becoming more real. My head is swimming with a thousand thoughts of why I've done this to myself. 

Worthless, Imperfect. Stupid. Sad. Alone. Incapable. Annoying. Loner. Ugly. Fat. Horrible human being. 

Thoughts are swirling, blood is dripping, heart is racing, skin is warming. Have I gone too far this time? 

I turn on the faucet and watch as the water washes away my pain - down the drain, like it's nothing at all. Red turns to orange, turns to clear, and suddenly it's gone. It's like I was never there at all. 

I grab some towels and run them under the cold water. I press the damp cloth firmly to the red, stained skin. It burns. The coolness of the towel soothes the sting of the red lines. I rinse the towel and repeat until every bit of evidence is gone. 

Now all I'm left with are the lines that will soon fade to scars but will never leave me completely. 

I grab gauze and tape from the cabinet. Wrapping your own arm is difficult. I cut several, lengthy pieces of tape. As I place the gauze on the canvas that is my arm, it sticks to the fresh blood daring to creep out. I pack it tight and secure with medical tape. 

Now I feel regret. 

Regret that I worked so hard to stop doing this to myself, but I've found myself here again. Regret that I've let people down. Regret that I will have to live with this moment for the rest of my life. Regret that no amount of clear water can wash away the redness I've inflicted upon myself. 

I wash my face, sticky with snot and tears. My face is warm. I dry my eyes and turn out the bathroom light. I don't want to see my reflection anymore. 

The walk to my bedroom seems to take an eternity. I feel like I am not in my body, but simply watching my ghost try to find her way to bed. 

The soft blankets feel comforting against my legs and torso. I have my pillow - my comfort. I lay my head and feel my eyes well up with tears again. The warm water rushes across my once clean face an onto my pillow. I think to myself... 

If I die tonight, I would be okay. 


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