Nails

She can't stop biting her nails, chewing away her fingers. Since last December they've been bitten to the quick, bloody. She used to wear nail polish, but she can't anymore, because it burns, seeping into the cuts and the torn skin, mixing with her blood. She used to like that chemical smell, that cold poison. She's tried to stop, but the blood is salt-sweet copper in her mouth; the pain brings her back into focus, and she can't even hold a pencil now without that familiar dull burning at the tips of her fingers. Everything she touches hurts. The skin begins to grow back and she peels it away with her teeth, she's peeling off her skin one finger at a time. The cuffs of all her shirts are stained from soaking up the blood. She's wondered before whether maybe she ought to do more, whether more blood would be better. It's pathetic, she thinks, this kind of pain that almost isn't pain at all, barely skin deep. She wants more blood, but somehow she never really gets around to it, because there is something far too clean about that sliver of light that is a razor. It would be like art. She could draw new patterns on her skin, cut deep and deeper- but blood is not art. She doesn't want to express herself in blood, but still she can't stop biting at her hands, peeling off her fingerprints. She doesn't want to express herself in blood, but everywhere she goes she's leaving bloody fingerprints; everything she touches bleeds.