Chemist's Cabinet

never knew the pain you felt
when I screamed like a blade coming down,
cutting you in twos and threes,
until I scraped myself on both knees;
bloody sticky wounds from my razor -
I shaved off skin and hair like I shoved you from my lair -
and with red welts rising on my legs like on any bad girl's,
I took stock of my ointments in search of a cure.

I poured out some old expired honesty
from my high school days
when I could have been a saint -
never a temper raised.
I'll keep this powdered revenge
'cause you just never know
but these pills of forgiveness have just gotta go.
what am I gonna do for you?
maybe a band-aid?
I'd offer antiseptic but
that's not what I deal in.

I can feel my legs burning
but I can't staunch the sting:
aloe vera is no match for
the bitter blood I'm leaking.
with veins full of venom,
I start to understand
the knife wounds in your back,
the tear stains in your eyes.

good-bye to these old syrups
of love and regret
old-fashioned cure-alls that
I never swallow these days.
take a lozenge to numb your tongue
and maybe you'll hold it
while I scrub off these labels
and refill my bottles with new potions
extracted from our subconsciouses
with care taken not to disturb the contents.

like I said I never knew this pain before
so I'm still looking for a salve;
I didn't know you hurt with the same goddamn thing
until I got it back in my own way.
have some patience and some pride -
they never worked for me
I find them kind of tasteless, but maybe they're your thing.

never knew the pain you felt
when I swung down like a baton to the backs of your knees.
but rest assured, I got my own back
in my own separate way:
now I'm looking to save us
with something other than hate.

© Jess Zelhart, 2004. Thou shalt not steal.

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