In bed, in the dark, your fingers brush the jagged “x”
that marks my damaged past.
I flinch out of habit, force myself
to be completely naked with you
tell you how you can make a happy face with a lighter
home-poke tattoos with a safety pin and India ink.
I trace the pattern of your own damaged flesh,
ribs shattered and warped, a mangled child
written in pages of skin half-crumbled to dust
ritualistic burnings—here, I defy you
to tell me I had it bad, we had it bad.
With you, I stand in defiance of the past
remake myself in images of celibacy
angelic visitations, with a heart as pure as ice.