Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones
may break my bones
but words will hurt

Words will be tattoed
on my arm in indigo ink,
glinting bright
with pricked blood and skin.

Words will dangle
like a baby’s mobile,
floating just
above my head.

Words will injure
again and again,
because you carved them
into my memory.

They leap up at me
from my gut,
though I dug a grave
to bury them.

They dance around
in bright clothes,
despite me scribbling over them
and breaking their legs.

Words are worse
than the end,
because over and over
they ruin new beginnings.

So sticks and stones
can break my bones,
but the words you say
can break all of me.

Speak carefully.

Proverbs 12:6
The words of the wicked kill; the speech of the upright saves.


*originally published on Middle Places


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