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I’ll never forget that word.
It lingers in my brain
Like a parasite;
Like something infectious all its own.

I felt infectious when I was barred from school,
Even if it was for my own safety,
Not to prevent my contagion from spreading.
I felt infectious when I was hauled off to doctors in the middle of the day
And everyone saw…
And they knew.
I felt infectious when everyone came to know my mother’s face
With how often she had to break me out.

Infectious means being quarantined to my house and nowhere else,
Else I have to have a solid exit plan.
Infectious means having no friends,
Or at least no friends that weren’t ashamed to be around me.
No one wanting to love me.

I cannot let anyone love me
Because I am far too infectious.
Touching me means prodding at years of pain
And I cannot let another’s hands unwind my bandages.
I cannot let another’s hands delve into my toxic flesh,
For fear they’ll come out contaminated.

I still feel that awful,
Awful word
Everytime I can’t get out of bed,
I can’t touch anyone,
I can’t talk to people.
I feel as if I am a walking infection.