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To My Friend, Status: Alive


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The scarlet lines on your wrists
Once bright as charring summer
The knife twists
And it leaves another mark,
Another lie to cover

(the cat, the stairs, I tripped...dropped glance, another)

And you plasmolyse yourself,
like in biology,
your magic shrinking in
and peeling off the walls
leaving the paint to bleed.

I thank a god I don't believe in
that they're faded, atrophied.

Like footprints to a shrine
That you trekked to, day by day
Giving your sacrifice,
blood offering,
to a cause that you believed
would end your suffering,
and at first it worked,
because the world seemed to still
but really you were just spinning with it
and we tried to catch you,
we tried, we did,

but you'd left your lands to overgrow
and your beauty was hidden among the grass
and your ichor was bleeding into the sands
of your dying hourglass

Then, one day, staring up at the sky,
Your heart bared open, a channel, a vein
Carpeted around you a bright gold stain
And the last few droplets clinging on
And you murmur to them "Be gone, be gone."
And again and again, they ask you why.
And your eyes focus on the burning sky
That we're drowning in as you fade away
Pieces breaking off of the parapet
"He told me this would be child's play -
but now everything's wrong."

So you slip the necklace over your head
Curse the name of that prophecy
You won't be one of his silent dead
"Get your shadow tendrils off me!"
And you stagger and fight through the burning sun
As the congealed ichor sears in your chest
And this scarred skeleton gets up to run
Though he's not quite sure if he still believes
He'll die with a moment's rest

And now you're struggling on,
A beacon, a song
That you never wished had begun
The road is long
And I try and keep up
Because you are everything
Sewn up, rough around the edges
Fantastically imperfect
Human.

I know the knives still sparkle, and there's nothing I can do

But when you ask me what the scarlet lines mean
They're not a scar, or blemish
Or a mark of some past sin
They're not a 'phase' that's ended
Or 'cowardice'
Or anything else in that poisonous tone

They're train-tracks.
Old train-tracks, rusted around the edges,
Leading to a dark place
But you stopped construction.
They used to gleam chrome.
But now they're sorry, faded,
Shrivelled excuses for train-tracks
And have nothing on the steampower
Of your sparkling heart, pumping, pumping
Blood racing through stitched-up veins
Steam streaming from its chimney,
Sweet-tasting oxygen.

Breathe.




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