by Sophia Sherwood

I want to have meaningful, deep connections. Like
Open wounds.
Bleeding and pouring and gushing
And when there’s no more blood and they’ve crusted and dried over
I want to bandage each other up and kiss the scars and hold each other
Like we are pools of water in
Each other’s hands

And then I want to thank each other
For the good time
And say I love you even
When you’re ugly and mean and broken
And kiss the scars

I think that’s why I create those same
Wounds in myself
Desperate attempts at connection
A yearning so insatiable
Gashing tearing gnawing

But I find nothing but bone
No more blood to drink
So I seek out that of others
Clawing at their hearts and begging to be
Held but begging in the form of

Please, baby, just look at me
Just look at me, everything will be okay
I don’t want to hurt you
I want to hurt me and I want you
To tell me you love me anyway

I want to open you up and eat your heart
And every piece of meat that makes you up
Until there’s nothing left but bone
Hollow and beautiful

I want you to see me as my worst
Most horrifying self
And think
Despite it all, there’s still love

Why can’t we eat each other without the labels?
Why don’t you want me to caress you, swallow you
Whole just so we can go and taste others
Soon after?

Why don’t you want empty I love you’s
And burning kisses
Nail marks down your back followed by
Inside jokes and empty promises?

You don’t want my double edged sword?
You don’t want my poison
My tar, seeping out of your ribcage?
You don’t want to stuff each other to the brim
With smoke and honey?

Baby, that doesn’t sound good to you?
Why, oh why not? I don’t understand

My charred flesh isn’t appealing to you?
You said you wanted a piece of it
Just to carry with you, a reminder of me
I’m cutting off every inch now
Flaying myself, just for you, lover

I’ll tie up my carcass with a pretty
Red bow
Just for you, lover

Aren’t you happy?

I didn’t mean it when I said I love you
I’m sorry, I promise I didn’t mean it,

Not in the way you think, at least
My love is a far different version
A melancholic rendition
More synonymous with death
Or decay

More akin to a forest fire
Burning through everything everywhere
All at once

Oh, no, I burned you didn’t I?

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it
I promise I didn’t mean it
We can kiss again once I’ve cooled
Can’t we?
Won’t you hold me again after your wounds have
Scabbed over, lover?
Won’t you look at me again?

I promise I didn’t mean it when I said I love you

I promise I didn’t mean it

Please don’t be afraid.