by Mindy Munro
I had never heard the term self-injury until my son sat down across from me at the kitchen table and told me he'd been doing something stupid. I continued slicing the chicken cutlets in front of me, pink and soft with pale veins and strings of fat, remembering what a difficult labor it had been with this one; like a stubborn fruit he refused to budge and the doctors and nurses had crowded around my open legs with some sort of suction device, my first-born child's resistance to living in this world already a part of his personality. I imagined all of the typical scenarios; several sets of young hands passing around a homemade pipe or a gold bottle of prescription pills, the label peeled off and discarded. I imagined a group of boys in a speeding car, a bottle wrapped in brown paper being handed back and forth between them. I imagined the girl next door fumbling with a borrowed condom. Instead, he slowly rolled back the sleeves of his sweater, revealing dozens of bright red lines, some of them new enough to have beads of blood still bursting through the cuts in long straight rows, like a field of fresh strawberries.
Mindy Munro has been published by Ruined Music. She blogs here, quite sporadically.