I picked up my pain today and polished it with a torn rag and some saliva. I turned it over in the palm of my hand before dousing it in anointing oil and the saltiest of tears extracted from the Atlantic. I stared at it with the resignation of stale rage, an anger so omnipresent it has begun to feel like the indelible bruise at the base of my spine left from too many years of bowing and bending of lifting and molding myself to others’ wishes. I picked up my pain today, but the ink stained my fingertips red and bled straight through the paper and onto the tired ground beneath my feet. I turned to my computer but I could barely see the screen through the thick smears of clots and vessels. I am genetically predisposed to have anger grafted on the insides of my eyelids, so that every waking dream is only a brief reprieve from the horror awaiting just beyond the edges of my page. Today, I picked up my pen only to find that it had sprouted claws overnight. They gripped my hand and pressed inwards, and I could no longer see or feel where the pain began and where my hand ended. I sat down to write with my only tool trapped in this evil clamp. My pain has been injected into every vein, carefully and painfully. It throbs just below the surface of my fingertips, straining to manifest between pen strokes and pulsing cursors. I picked up my pain today and wrote in spite of it.