I’m sorry if I open up old wounds each time I speak.
I’m sorry if you’re resurged with some kind of hope I didn’t intend to give.
I guess that’s the way I like things.
I like to pick at my old scars.
I like the flesh tender and jagged and raw, and unhinged
like the jaws of a boa constrictor,
I like to curl around you until you fear you cannot breathe.
Again, I’m sorry, it’s just my nature.
It’s why my scabs and scars never heal.
It’s why I keep shedding the same rotten skin.
It’s why I leave it there sodden to tarnish the food chain.
I never can get rid of it.
Camouflage is my specialty. I shed who I am and become someone new.
This time I’ve adapted to puncture and drink.
I’m some rare flaw in evolution, some glitch in the genome.
You thought I just liked to strangle.
You thought bloodless deaths were my magnum opus,
until I was drenched in red before your very eyes.
I guess you never thought I’d drain you, too.
I’m sorry if my wounds somehow became yours.
I’m sorry if I shed them and you ate the leaves they grew.
I rarely mean to do the things I do.
I don’t know how to cope with being hated, being feared.
Again, I’m sorry, but you never knew me to begin with.
Emma Quinn is a young writer born and raised in Missouri, currently living in Chicago with her two cats Mila and Pip. She grew up creating stories and art based on her exploration of the creeks and forests around her as well as the relationships she formed and her struggles with anxiety. Emma graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in English, focusing in creative fiction, poetry, and anthropology. Her work is available in EPIC Literary Journal, alongside the Leader’s Board Choice Award, and in Missouri’s Best Emerging Poets series of 2018. Emma is currently working on a creative research project involving the natural world and how humanity may learn to see, understand, and connect with life assumed inanimate. She intends on returning to school in Fall 2021 for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction, and looks forward to continually learning as much as she can and sharing that knowledge with the world through her writing.