To the Victims of Dermatillomania


Dermatillomania, Excoriation Disorder, Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP): a disorder wherein the individual compulsively picks at his or her skin, despite physical harm to the body and torture to the mind.


The stillness has a mosquito quality - 
Buzzzzz in both ears.


I'm supposed to be at a concert,
I have to stare at shame
For I was with a gentleman,
He of stillness
He of lonesome –
He seduced me;
I’ve missed the whole thing.


Fiery devils inside my fingers
My little dirty fingers
My little bloody fingers
Run up and down,
Around and around,
To my arms,
To my chest,
To my chin,
To my back,
To my legs....
Gifting red fire-ant bites
Little bits of reminder
To caress over and again,
To care for with nails.
They heal quickly
And still too slow.


Never room to breathe,
My skin is the prize prisoner
Tortured for years,
Who must be kept alive;
Withered leverage.


I can hear God in my ear,
Breaking up the buzz,
Whispering about choices
And Love
And Worth
And all the things I insist upon denying.
I can feel His heart break…
A fishhook –
If I listened
If I paused
The hook might catch and
Reel in my deepest thoughts
About the power to choose
About the power of Love
About the power of my Worth.


And yet I push Him away
In favor of mosquitoes.
With every pinch I quiet the voice
That pleads with me to stop,
To surrender.
Small skin-pieces come off in my fingers -
I study them carefully
As if they had answers.
Soon I can't hear any voice,
Only the buzz.


The phone rings or door opens
Jolting me out of stillness.
The corner of my heart where Compassion resides,
Hiding in rags, afraid of the light,
Steps forward with eyes to see,
Just for a moment,
And weeps.
Weeps for the patchwork of red and white
Scars and scabs and angry fire-bites,
Cries for lack of Love,
And I sink to the ground,
Ice-cold and numb,
Glass eyes and goosebumped skin,
And then the pain begins.



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