i've let my nails grow out but all that really means
is that the red skin around them gets torn twice as often
and when i clench my fists and whimper at nothing
my penitent grip leaves a mark
but by the time those marks have faded
i find myself in too familiar places
scratching and biting every three seconds
if not at the nail then at the finger and if not the finger
idling long enough to let any devil in
praying hard and quickly so my tongue
can't catch in the chattering teeth
"let me be alive this time."
"help me be alive."
life never comes to ones like these
and more and more it seems
it never leaves