I need a backwards mirror.
Something so that maybe,
instead of what you see
reflected back at you,
you see me.
Instead of the words
you hear coming from my mouth,
you see the back of my throat.
You see the words written there,
raised like wounds scabbing over
that prevent me from saying too much
or talking too loudly
should I accidently break them open
and cough up blood.
My biggest fear is bleeding out.
And I do what I do to protect you.
Because nobody wants to be calling 911
Every time they stop to talk to me.
They’d be sick of it by the third time.
I do what I do to protect you.
Nobody wants fingertips stained red
because they’ve spent all day catching specks of blood
that have jumped accidently
from my throat to our conversation.
Because let’s be honest,
I’ll never really say enough for you to get a palm full anyway.
I protect you.
And once more,
if it’s always there on your fingertips
you’ll forget it’s there after a while,
kind of like nail polish.
You’ll go about your day.
Which is fine.
I’d rather not break open
every time we talk.
To be honest,
I can feel my skin pulling away from itself,
in every direction
and my throat getting stopped up
with the words filling it.
It’s scary to think about,
that I could choke on my own words
if I’m not careful enough.
Which is why I do what I do to protect you.
Too few people know how to do the Heimlich,
so I don’t expect it of you.
But I can only hope,
I’ll find my mirror and speak.
Maybe someday I’ll have a higher pain tolerance.
Maybe someday I’ll learn to swallow fast enough
so that the words don’t form a clot
big enough to throw me off.
I won’t have to do what I do to protect you.