By Kieron Walquist
I recline in the sticky chair, offering my exposed body to the man that holds the gun. He flashes a Glasgow grimace and says, “This is going to hurt.”
I brace myself and let the needle sink into my skin. I welcome the searing pain—whether it pokes my side and threatens to shatter my ribcage or it stabs my back and tempts to sever my spine and blister shoulder blades, I accept the overwhelming onslaught. Blood begins to bud and bloom across my flesh as a rivulet of poison seeps in, hijacking the space. I fossilize my limbs in billowy clouds of color, shellacking my gingerbread skin with dye: legal graffiti.
I’m a bare canvas, blushing paint in broad brushstrokes. I’m a clump of clay, being pressed and molded, beginning to take shape. I’m a phoenix, arising out of the ashes anew.