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Lauren Bender


if everyone else is going to die this year          can i


dig and dig and dig      a patch keeps forming i can


peel off     followed by some sort of discharge


enough now i beg you     stop wanting stop trying


stop making noise     another therapist and this one


tells me     to name what i am     to use my voice not


the blood under my nails     her handwriting looks like


my mother's     and i am determined to forgive her


for caring about me     as much as you care about


any job the universe sends your way     more noise


more trying     more digging maybe next week


i will tell her     i can't do this anymore     because


it's hard     to even want to survive     a certain kind


of healing     when instead there is pus and skin


scar tissue     the dull ache of touching     of being


touched     when i know i can master     self-removal


Lauren Bender is a queer poet living in Burlington, VT with her wife and rudely adorable gray cat. Her work has appeared in such places as IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and Yes Poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can find her on twitter @benderpoet.


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