i taste iron in my mouth

the insides of my cheeks and lips picked raw

nervous animal scratchings of teeth and tongue caged in

i taste iron in my mouth and feel pinpricks in my skin

settling in all my physical signs of stress and anxiety

because as much as i try to hide my doctor can still see

the outbreaks of reddened skin betraying me

and the tiny lacerations in my soft pink cheeks

and the cracks and wear in my back molar teeth

revealing sleepless nights and sleepless days

with purple packed bags and exposed eyelid veins

and volcanic eruptions revealing emotional fault lines

best left undiscovered and lost to time

so yes, i taste iron in my mouth

because i need to be reminded what i’m made of

comforted by the constancy of continued existence

there is an insistence to pick at what i know to be real

the iron in my veins, knowing it’ll eventually heal