Tattoo

You have inked tattoos over every inch of my skin, but I don’t attempt to remove them.
That would only give you more canvas to paint.
I accept the labels you’ve pasted on me.
They help you deal with me, in your vain attempt to make sense of yourself.
I don’t resist as you poke black needles into my skin.
It can’t hurt me nearly as much as it hurts you.
I answer your accusations with patience, and sweet reasonableness,
As you scream in my ears, I let every word drop soundlessly on the ground, unheard.
And if your blows come too hard and fast, I take cover as I should.
But I’ll keep my white-flag hand upraised, just to let you know I’m still here for you,
Despite your attempts to kill me and savagely shred my heart.
And when you’ve completed this day’s rant and rage against all of me,
I know you will become contrite and sad, and relieved again that I didn’t go away.
I never go away. I am a constant who cannot see or hear your false self swearing.
I know the truth. You will eventually know it yourself.
Meanwhile, I roll up my sleeve to allow you to jab the needle in one more time.

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