Poetry

Untitled by Juno Adekunle

I smear

Bright red lipstick
Onto chapped flesh
To convince myself that
I
Am a dangerous girl

That
I
Do not have to paint my nails black
To hide dried blood

I don’t remember if it’s mine

I allow myself to swim
In maxi dresses I bought for too much at forever 21
So that the lace tickles my skin
So that the lace reminds me that I am still alive, and definitely not numb from painkillers I swallow like candy
The painkillers are supposed to be convincing me that they will calm the riot in my head, that they will make hallucinations stop, make the voices stop, make the pounding stop, make the hurting stop
My stepmother says I should try yoga
My hallucinations tell me that I should try to run away
My hallucinations tell me that I should try to kill myself

And eventually, I will
To convince myself that
I
Am not small
That I am in charge, in control
Because I am a dangerous, dangerous girl

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