the pain paradox

the pain you choose
hurts differently than
pain you can’t say no to.

my body is covered
in ink driven into
my skin by hundreds
of tiny needles,
but I flinch
when a nurse draws blood.

I can slice my finger
open for a ritual
but swear like a sailor
at a papercut.

it’s different when
you can say no.
there’s joy in saying yes.
even through the pain,
you can know the price
and you can say
it’s worth it.

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