The Comfort of Reclusion

Flummoxed they were by this man in their midst,
Who could not grasp the need to keep it in.
Tried to reason with him, but he persists –
His blood on full display under his skin.

He laughed when they said they figured it out,
Warding off pain with the blood buried deep.
He laughed but he cried at their self-imposed drought,
How is life better when you merely sleep?

They pushed his blood down deep in its den
Make sure it’s fully completely suppressed
Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again,
And then he’ll be only troubled, distressed.

Eyes wide in fear, in pain, and in wonder
As he struck at their own hibernating blood –
Drops of red pooling on surface torn asunder
It blooms with beauty, out of terror’s bud.

He begged them to see they lose when they hide –
You see, if you prick us, do we not bleed?
They put down their masks and together they cried –
Sometimes bloodletting is all we need.

Written for Magalay Guerrero’s poetry challenge (Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month), Day 1: April 2 – Has It Begun to Sprout?

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17 thoughts on “The Comfort of Reclusion

  1. This really speaks to me about how sometimes people are all to willing to diminish each another when uncomfortable truths bubble up to the surface. It seems there was some solace for the protagonist at the end, when all the pretenses were dropped, but it took far too long for the others to realize what they had done. Very nicely done.

    1. That’s beautifully put. Thank you! (I like to end my poems with visions of what *could* be. Here’s hoping it always turns out that way!)

    1. Thank you! Bonding and searching for comfort both tend to be unsettling in so many ways…

  2. Vivid image, “Drops of red pooling on surface torn asunder”
    and I agree “Sometimes bloodletting is all we need”
    Love the ending with peeling of the masks, it’s so freeing.

  3. Oh my dear, applause, applause! I LOVE this poem. By showing his blood, he pricks theirs and breaks down their defenses, resulting in unity. Or so it seems to me. 🙂 Wonderful.

  4. I am shuddering from head to foot after reading your words…..I saw my son in them…he is a self harmer…just fascinated by “how much will it hurt if?”. Wonderfully written 😀 XXX

    1. I’ve always understood self harm as a desperate attempt to feel something – if it can’t be pleasure, let it be pain. Or a way to divert overwhelming emotional pain to a physical manifestation. I don’t in any way want to glorify self harm. But this poem is indeed an attempt to grapple with that kind of thing. Much love to you and your son <3

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