Like Sleep Paralysis, but Six Months Long

Which was the flower,
and which was the thorn?

among the lows, the highs
among their faces, their hands
the places their hands took me
and the noises they made
my reflections in the speckled mirror
as I triggered landmines
in the salt desert of my flesh
the prison of a blank screen
the knocks on the door that would
rudely misplace my heart
from my chest to my throat
the tears that skipped my tear ducts
jumped straight into the page
and turned into swords

which was the blue,
which was death from drowning?

which parts am I most possessive of,
now that the colors have faded,
which parts had most resembled courage
at first glance?
which parts closed the door
on everything else that follows,
the parts that tell me I’ve been tamed?

I had a sustained period of madness
a hundred cursed mornings on a string
two hundred haunted nights on a spiral
and my whole life as I knew it
on the line.
It somehow found a way to quantify
pleasure, that madness,
calculated it was worth risking everything;
somehow made an exquisite blossoming
from the gritty danger.
Some vicious cycles feel like dreams;
all addictions are dreams, I think
they follow nightmare logic
the seething edges of your own shadow
pressing on all sides like walls,
obsession and her self-destructive twin
looming, cadmium red, insidious
mistresses of deception and seamlessly
assuming the appearance of a savior,
of a love.
Some falls from grace are like dreams;
all half-successful mimics of love
are dreams, I think

and I only realized how the world
hadn’t quite lined up
until I woke up
with blood in my hands,
the blood of knowing I could never
have self-harmed that long and that deeply
but at least it’s over now
I should learn something
but between what’s real and what isn’t
which was the burning,
which was the rise from the ashes?