• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 10
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Whorls and Striations

Every smile, every kick, every comment
sweet or sour has pressed its print
on you, my snarled-up man, once a lonely child.
It's hard to understand what came from where
and you resist unpicking stitches, poking
scabs and scars and hardened skin, you
prefer containment of your toxins deep within.
There's the rub. When your fingers fist up,
your tongue fires bullets, your face scowls
you print on me, infect my love and leave me
feeling foul. I know you'll grieve now my full stop
has finished our sentence, once and for all. Dear one,
I'd wished for another ending. I stayed too long
in hope but bruises from your thumb prints left me numb
and worse, adroit, fit to perform small cruelties
of my own. I wish you a new life, without punches
given or received, freedom from loveless annihilation.