The Itch: A Poem About Dermatillomania

There are days when

my fingernails rush to scratch the uncertainties,

run along my skin

to meet the places I am most vulnerable

scraping at impurities to their bloody falling out


I stay quiet in my bedroom,

writhe as her words

turn to dense smoke

lingering on the walls




She spits


It sticks beneath my nail beds



I sit here awhile longer

Let her tell me once more


that she wishes I could move a little faster


Says slowly through her teeth

"I wish you'd clean up your nails"


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