Thin Red Line

by Elliott Bell

It was driving me crazy
Like the corner of a sticker
Just barely curled back,
Begging to be peeled.

Tentatively at first,
I’d been picking at the spot –
That place where my mandible ends
This little indent behind my ear,
All day my hand found it’s way there.

When I got home last night
I decided enough was enough.
So I went to the bedroom,
Shut the door behind me,
And turned off the light –
Some things just shouldn’t be seen
In fluorescent.

Window light illuminating me,
I stood in front of the mirror,
Brushing the skin behind my ear.
Then I dug my nails in.

With a sudden crack,
And a quiet gasp,
My nails caught an edge.
A thin red line now framed my face
As I stared in fascination.
Gently, I lifted it
And stared into what was underneath.

My eyes were eyeballs, truly,
Like billiard balls in a meat pie.
Striated muscles crissed and crossed,
Blood seeping from the tissues,
Outlined by stark white sinews.
In horror and delight,
Like Adam’s nameless wife,
I stood revealed.

From the other room
I heard the sudden sound.
Footsteps approaching –
Hastily, I placed my face
Back into place.

The door creaked open,
Tentative and gentle,
“Hello love,”
He said.

He stared at me in the mirror
Peering over my stiffened shoulders.
“Oh love,”
He said.
“Let me help you with that.”

As he pressed his lips to mine,
He banished the thin red line.
With his kiss there came a crack,
The sound of my face snapping back.

“There you are,”
Said his little smile.
But thin red lines under my nails,
Said only for a little while.

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