Do you realize the arms you put around my waist were squeezing the life from my body? Like a snake waiting patiently for its prey to suffocate, you pulled me close in night. Justifying my suffering you claim without me you would die. Would you die without my flesh inside your belly? Would you die without devaouring my hopes + dreams like honey? Would you die without the drink of my tears on your chapped lips? Your empty promises keep me calm as you hold me tighter + tighter. Soon the skin that used to glow has gone ashen from your tender care. I can’t feel my fingers or my toes. Does this even hurt? Are you saying ‘I love you’? By the time I’ve forgotten how the whisper of true love sounds you’ve grown fond of this position. Your arms coil around me and you start your twisted game. Your breathe so near to mine there isn’t enough oxygen here. Lips dance across my ear feeding me lines that my Mother warned me about. Too blind to see reality I happily marinate in my new habitat. Its warm here! Its cozy like a nest. You won’t hurt me, isn’t it true? You protect me, you feed me… Water me? When your lip curls + you spew poison it begins to look like I love you. Maybe I am wrong about I love you’s, maybe the are supposed to burn + bruise. The marks remind me of your love when you sleep. I can’t breathe. This hurts… I want you to let go now please! Please. Surely it was the hand of God that broke my spell. Your game designed to distract instead attracted my attention to your actions. Sputtering and squirming I confronted and questioned your motive with a heart so pure it would break their’s if they saw. Everyone knows when you struggle it gets worse, you sink deeper in the sand and the snake holds you tighter and your chances of survival fade rapidly. Surely it was the hand of God that pulled me from your grasp as you were poised to strike. Your teeth against my neck, your ring at my finger. What I have once begged for I now feared. Had you acted just one moment earlier you would have had your fill, I would have given myself as a sacrificial lamb to satisfy your hunger. But now, now I am healing and these scars, these they are new skin. Glowing and bright, new skin that doesn’t tan or wrinkle or fade. Visual reminders of the beauty that lies inside. Reminders that roses really do grow from ashes. Reminders to my children to watch out for snakes who deceive with twisted games. And you, you are alone in the forest of your mind with only your poison + self inflicted pain to keep you company. Because now, now I’m healing and these scars, they are new skin. Glowing and bright new skin that doesn’t tan or wrinkle or fade. Visual reminders of the beauty that lies inside me. Visual reminders that roses really do grow from ashes and reminders to my children to watch out for snakes the deceive with twisted games.