The only time I ever slit my wrists
I was 15 and a girl I barely knew
had told me she ‘wasn’t looking’.

Time has dulled the point,
but I suspect that they were safety scissors,
maybe even lefty blades.

One go didn’t hurt enough
so I struck twice, not sure exactly why
or what would happen next.

I’ll tell what: I bled a trickle
in my smug suburban bedroom, thinking
I’d have got the same from grabbing ice,

thinking of her indiscriminately,
thinking: I can bleed
as red as any motherfucker.

Thinking I wouldn’t even have to hide
the scars. I woke up feeling fine
and stupid, if I remembered it at all.

I was 15 and thought it was expected.
Pain is a periscope; what’s nothing, near
seems six feet high, a metric tonne

that’s far away is tiny. I went to lessons
on the Vietnam War in a short-sleeved shirt,
and all that was left was a railway track,

two parallel lines that would never meet
heading blindly into the future.