Scabbed Skin and Fractured Cartilage
You tell me I’m beautiful and I almost believe it. You call me handsome and I wonder if you know- I have my father’s face. Full lips, thin eyes, high cheekbones. Each piece matching up; right down to the violently broken nose. You call me pretty and I wonder if you know. Darling I sometimes want to tear off flesh from bone just so that I don’t have to look back at him in the mornings.
When you ask me about my parents there’s a beat before I say we’re not that close. You want to know what happened until you pick up on my too-raw voice when I reply they didn’t want another son. There’s scar tissue there, that much you can tell. You run your hands over the scabs that night and ask me if it hurts. I tell you no. I do not tell you that the new skin growing in is mostly numb.
[Once I remember while you’re there to see. You’re quiet as you listen and then I’m quiet as you kiss me. You tell me you’re sorry. I do not tell you I don’t need you to.]
Ian Mahler is a proud, non-binary queer that likes green tea and Granny Smiths. In his spare time he draws and writes poems that his friends tell him are ‘quite sad.’