Content warning: self-harm.

by Simone Brady


I have to imagine flowers where scars could be,

Green stems in my hands versus the razor in my fingers,

Rose petals instead of beading blood on my wrists and thighs.

The beauty of a plant for the sting of a wound is an easy trade to make.


Holding a blue bandanna, watching rose-petal-blood turn it brown,

The stem-razor shakes in my fingers.

I wonder how I got here, made that terrible plant-sting trade.

I can’t imagine flowers where pink scratches are.


He punched me in the gut with six-month-old words.

My breath whooshed out and I had a hole where flesh should be.

I saw nothing but roses and tears;

Only the sting could fill the gap.


And though I am safe for the time being

The razor-sharp thorns, rose-petal blood, the sting of a fresh scratch

Still call to me, they still sing for me

The second I let my guard down.

Jeffersonville High School, 2019