The first time I cut myself,
I hoped I was letting the demons out.
My demons. Fear, hate, insecurity.
I thought I’d be rid of them for good.
I thought I could stare into the mirror
And not want to punch the reflection,
I thought I could smile naturally,
Instead of pretending.
I thought I could be like everyone else,
As the blood spiraled down my wrist,
My arm becoming a macabre candy cane.
I thought it worked. I was euphoric.
Blame it on blood loss.
My do-it-yourself exorcism unsuccessful.
Night turned into day and day into weeks
And my demons remained.
I met Darla at the Laundromat of all places.
I know, how romantic.
Sudsy Malone’s was a combination Laundromat/Bar,
A place where live bands played most nights.
She asked if I had any fabric softener.
I thought she was nuts. I never used fabric softener.
It turns out we had a shared insanity.
Weeks later, she showed me her scars, her demons.
She educated me on many things, including
The writings of Poppy Z. Brite, the Zen of Kite-flying.
And the best ways to remove blood stains.
I introduced Darla to Thai cuisine
and the films of H.G. Lewis.
Now we bleed each other.