Gremlin

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

My demons are the way words crawl up and down my skin trying to find a way to enter. Hiding in the creases of my elbow until there is that one chance cut, and they can scuttle into my blood stream-flow into my body. Words are sneaky like this. Even if you are less observant than myself.

“Rachet.” “Gay.” “Homo.” “Fat.” “Dumb.” “Ugly.”

Don’t tell me it just slides off you. Words don’t slide, they hook into the crook of your wrist. Stick like glue onto your legs and stomach, stay until one day you grow tall and confident, peeling them off your epidermis. Yet, sometimes you can’t. We can’t. I can’t. 7th graders don’t.

“Snitch.”

A person who tells on another person, because they stood up to do the right thing. The word of the week. Her wrist bleeds out gay, short, fat, dumb. Her pills drown out ugly, homo, rachet. Words that the students’ batter into her head everyday as they shove her into a wall. So he writes a confession to the teacher full of names. Snitch. When really, he is a hero.

Dead. Is what she might have been. Lying lifeless, the words beating against her pale, ageless body, dangling from her toes trying to be set free.

It is the words clinging to our lips, spewing from the fire.

Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones. Sticks and stones.

Names are forever.

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