watch your words

My boss pulled me to one side
to talk about some things
she had overheard.
She wanted me to know that
she was there if I needed to talk
about anything;
work or otherwise.
She tells me that
I need to be careful
who I say things in front of
because she’s concerned
I might upset people
and she doesn’t want me to get in trouble.
I try and bite my tongue
but every morning when my colleagues ask
“how are you today, Less?”
my mouth fills with acid
and I want to claw my throat out
because I don’t know how to answer
while staying in my authority
to not tell anyone what’s going on.


“Oh wow!
What do they all mean?”

A common question asked
when people find out
that I am tattooed.
But contrary to popular belief,
tattoos do not have to mean anything.
A few of mine have meanings;
the banana for my dad
(his favourite fruit),
the shaking hands for my brother
(shaking hands traditionally means trust),
the flowers for my miscarriages,
the flame and paper aeroplane.
The rest are just ones I found cute
or aesthetically pleasing.

That being said,
I tend to get tattoos
when I am struggling
with change
or feeling out of control.
The pain grounds me,
keeps me tethered to reality,
a socially acceptable form
of self-harm.
The finished tattoo
reminds me that
this is my body
and I will decorate it
as I see fit.

doing is not coping

just because i get up
and go to work every day
does not mean i am coping
just because i laugh
and smile and make jokes
does not mean i am coping
just because i am making
plans for the future
does not mean i am coping
i am so tired
from dragging myself about
and ignoring the cancer
that is growing inside me
while i try and maintain
the routine and normality
that is keeping me tethered to this world
when i just want to