flaming hands

By the time I was sixteen, I’d beaten myself down to
a pulp. The smallest nesting doll. Suddenly, I was the
wolfย of my own story. You could have stuck me at the
bottom of a well, with nowhere to go but up, and I
would have dug myself down deeper. No matter how
hard the light tried to crack through, I always came
bearing tape to seal it back up. I kept dipping razors
in blood because my hands weren’t working to make
anything worthwhile. It’s been five years since I tried
to extinguish my own flame. Now, my hands are less
chokehold and more lavender bushel. I touch every
thing like it’s the first time. Like I don’t know if I’ll
ever get to again. I write more love poems than death
wishes. Some days I still find myself howling from a
familiar ache, so maybe I’ll always have a wolf girl’s
heart, but now it’s a little more domesticated. Maybe
I’m living proof that you can teach an old dog new
tricks. Where I used to bare teeth, now I just roll
over, settle myself down. We’re still working onย 
learning how to stay when the cold blows through.
If youย put me at the bottom of a well, I’d know how
to break myself out before you even got the chance
to fill it with water.
—  FIVE YEARS LATER, angelea l.