I secure my loneliness with safety pins

threaded through the tips of my fingers.

The skin crumbles, but the feeling lingers,

and I breathe in my solitude as proof—

the silent signature of a warmth removed,

a translucent tugging at my soul.

I approximate frozen violets with homemade finger paints,

skipping scarlet across depressions in the snow.

Perhaps it requires but a shedding of my hair,

of my lips—of skin, barely there above the bone—

to prove that I am feral and far from human,

to prove that I am better off alone.

Better off an artist in the icefields, just beyond

where the woods offer bleached surrender—

I could be the lone defender against the wolves.

Crouched low over my mural lines, baring teeth

at all who jeopardize the consistency

of a narrow life, I could cauterize such dependency on love.

I could halt their snarls with a crack in the wind,

a brittle snap as their howls rescind beneath their jaws.

I could harvest their hides, wrap myself inside

the wilds of wordlessness and force. Without remorse,

I could trade my bloodied fingernails for claws.

But the violets are spreading and the white is fading—

the harsh percussion of my body shaking,

an empty shot. They find me naked and curled,

wrap me in rough blankets unfurled,

and haul me back to a world I fancied forsaking,

but, in the end, could not.


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