My friend told me
in the mirror
her face reflected
was like an open wound
and I saw the bluish red
of scarred flesh
I thought was healing
now fluid and flaming cranberry.
And I wanted to stop the bleeding.

I brought ice cubes
tore up the bed sheets
made tourniquets
from my petticoats
and she said, “Oh, your clothes
are soiled,”
but I wanted to stop the bleeding.

I ran for hours
soaking, mopping, wiping, pressing
until my back hurt and
my fingers stiffened
and she said, “You never really
seem happy,”
but I wanted to stop the bleeding
and the curtains, the couch covers,
and the clothes I wore
couldn’t absorb any more
and she said, “Did you write a
poem today?”
Nothing I did,
nothing I did
could stop the bleeding.