A friend once told me
That I had it easy:
“Look at your hands,
So soft and smooth
No lines nor calluses
You’ve never suffered
A day in your life!”

I guess your hands
Don’t get calluses
When you’re trying
To keep your head above the water

No, hands don’t get callused
When you’re in the middle
Of a dark ocean
Where the water
Stings your eyes
Where the cold
Saps your strength
And you don’t know
How long before
A great white shark
Drags you
Into the depths

And I can’t
Open up my mind
To show you
The flagellation welts
From self-imposed atonement
For all my failings

And so I have
Nothing to show you
How much I suffer.
All I have
Are these words:
These frictioned, pressured,
irritated conjurations
As my testament to pain.