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She's marked her again and the scars will preserve it
​She's causing her pain 'cause she thinks she deserves it
She isn't a file on a case worker's shelf
She isn't self-harming, she's harming herself

Hyphen, inversion may make it sound neater
Straight like the burns from the bars on the heater
She's the subject, the object, the hurter, the hurt
The rejecter, the reject, the victim, the perp

She's harming herself but she doesn't self-harm
She isn't arm-cutting, she's cutting her arm
She isn't flesh-burning, she's burning her flesh
She's fresh from a session of self-aimed aggression

She's not a statistic in post-trauma health
She isn't self-harming, she's harming herself


This poem was published in Algebra of Owls, August 2017.