identity politics

The Map of Your Marks on my Body

Content: writing about receiving a cutting, branding, and some power dynamic language, with photo examples 

The first mark you left me was a hunk of brown hair big enough to grasp on top. It might not seem like much, but from that very first protocol, you claimed me. It took patience to let the faux hawk grow out, and a million tiny choices to not buzz it all off when my bangs tempted me.

We were playing the three minute game and I pressed my small, dull pocketknife into your palm. You obliged, and when the timer went off your initial was left there scratched in red over my heart. I can still catch the diagonal of it when the light is just right.

The dog tags you gave me clink under my shirt, above my binder, constantly — a little jangling reminder, marking me in a way others can start to understand. I remember the time you blindfolded me and took them off of me, only to tie new ones onto my chest through holes you sewed with a needle and fishing line. When I opened my eyes I cried with joy and relief. The new tags said “Property of Mr. Sexsmith.”

We were outside a cafe somewhere, on the East Coast. The desperation of my approaching flight home — inexorably away from you — and the prolonged tease and denial of long distance had made you bold. Or maybe it was my constant cocky goading, “Please, more,” that caused you to grab me hard, right there among the white wrought iron cafe tables and extinguish your cigarette into my forearm. You smoked back then. It became a ritual, every trip’s parting left me another neat white hot scar. I made the observation the first three dots looked like the little dipper and then we were committed. Even after you’d quit nicotine, you held the poker from the pot-bellied stove to complete the shape of it. You got Ursa Major tattooed on your arm to match, years later when we got married.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There were more temporary claimings, with teeth and claws and fists and boots, great purple and black shadows that would fade to green, forensic evidence that you were here. I’d recognize your teeth’s impression anywhere. We joked that if my body ever turned up in a river somewhere it would not take a big leap to find you.

One night you brought a scalpel to our room, upstairs in the white house at summer camp. I hissed and broke a cold sweat while the hot red blood flowed down my peach skin to the white sheets. When you pulled me out of it, high and delicious, the branching design bigger than your palm had been permanently inscribed onto my flank. For weeks after I could not sleep on my left side. I would feel the ridges of it through my pants. It is still there, brighter when my blood flows pink against the white scars, a stag’s antler or a branching tree. Your artistry was perfect.

I love every mark you’ve given me but my favorites are the most explicit: the first time you spread my legs, shaved me bare with your straight razor and Sharpied boldly around my inner thigh, “Property of Mr. Sexsmith,” in your tight, careful script. I asked you to take pictures and begged for it to be permanent. “Maybe one day, boy,” you said with a gentle smile. I never really considered that by shaving every time in the shower, you did let me continue that scene indefinitely.


Then there was the time you took me to get my nipple pierced (twice! Long story). It felt like a permanent claiming in this deliciously erotic way. I still have not taken it out and do not plan to.

Sometimes I run my tongue over my bottom inner lip just to see if I can still feel the ridges where you tattooed “slave” onto my inner lip in your handwriting. Yes, I can still feel it.

Maybe it’s a fetish, maybe it’s just an extension of my longing to be owned, but I will never get enough of my Owner’s hand upon me. From surgical purple markers to cell popping. I am a total slut for getting marked up in all the ways, and grateful for every one.

Published by rife

rife is the property of Sinclair Sexsmith. He likes motorcycles, leather, and hiking with dogs. When not serving Master, he serves many other folks in the community through his graphic and web design small business

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