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(for A.)

I submit to pain
consciously and wholly,
administered in incremental doses
growing more potent over time
'til the body is forced to cope
and develop on its own
some primitive form of resistance.

To an affliction
with no prescribed cure,
where the only known defense
is deliberate, repeated and prolonged
exposure to the carrier,
the sado-masochist belief
that cruelty is an act of mercy,
becomes gospel truth.

Once again, I bend over
relenting to your wish to be kind.

Inoculate me,
until this body is rendered immune
...to you.

Anne Stephanie Cruz


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