File Under Self-Harm – by Janine Booth

She’s marked her again and the scars will preserve it.
She’s causing her pain ’cause she thinks she deserves it.
She isn’t a file on a case worker’s shelf.
She isn’t self-harming, she’s harming herself.

Hyphen, inversion may make it sound neater.
Straight like the burns from the bars on the heater.
She’s the subject, the object, the hurter, the hurt.
The rejecter, the reject, the victim, the perp.

She’s harming herself but she doesn’t self-harm.
She isn’t arm-cutting, she’s cutting her arm.
She isn’t flesh-burning, she’s burning her flesh.
She’s fresh from a session of self-aimed aggression.

She’s not a statistic in post-trauma health.
She isn’t self-harming, she’s harming herself.




Janine Booth is a Marxist motormouth, who is in the second half of her poetry adventure having ranted in the 1980s and recomposed in 2014. She writes and performs poems funny and serious, formal and random. Janine has had three poetry collections published. Check out her website: here