It is as if there are metal wires
pulling at my skin.
Invisible lines hooked in
deep enough to ache –
gentle enough to slide –
underneath my wince.

Metal wires, crooked beneath
the flesh. Rusted strands taut
along muscle and nerve, and
dug below my grimace.
Just enough to flinch.

Enough to stretch the spine
straight, enough to stiffen limbs.
Enough to keep me upright,
though breathing pains.

Breathing – soft hisses along
the wires, throbbing through
bone and feeling.

Rigid distress, held hanging
midair. Enough to hurt –

not enough to collapse.