On and Off by Caitlin Dicus

On.

Shield my chest with these
Vulnerable arms, naked
To the inevitable pain,
Shock.
“It will only hurt
For a second,”
I think.
Now.

Rivulets of fire snake down
My legs and stomach, burn
My back like the lashing
Of a whip, and singe
My face, boiling,
But I breathe.
Breathe.

The steam curls in my nostrils
Nursing ice from my bones
Slow and sweet, pain
Flows from toes
And away.
Gone.

Let down my shaking shield
And fire course in my heart
Holding it close
In love. My skin
Is alive.

Scorching me inside and out
This fiery game I play
Drenches me in need.
My fix.

The first one always hurts.
But in the end,
Pleasure.
Until I turn the
Handle.

Off.

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