my fingertips taste faintly of blood,
taking another into her mouth:
Have you been chewing again?
A thin strand of streetlight
sneaks in through the bedroom window,
dimly illuminates the crosshatch of scars
barely visible on the soft skin of her forearms.
Small, straight nicks with a razorblade.
Quarter-moon curves from fingernails.
She rubs her thumb over my chewed fingertips,
testing the ragged cuticles, the underside of nail
where the pink, exposed dermis
is sensitive to heat and touch:
steam off a pot of boiling water, a particular agony.
She wants to know if my skin tastes good to me.
Would I like it if she bit me, too?
She closes her fingers around my fingers,
resists asking me once again
if I would ever stop.
I consider holding a blade to her skin,
trading what I hate about her
for what she hates about me;
the little erosions that hold us together.
The girl is long gone, but the biting