Poison ivy, not so different from drugs, after all.
First I make a sacrifice, of my body. I don't need my lower legs. I'll sacrifice those. With drugs I guess it is your liver, or your lungs, or your brain. But something must be offered, and I think I'll offer my lower legs, yes. Those curvy ankles and flat calves and tops of my feet. Those appendagal luxuries, I don't need them. Once I've made those concessions, my legs already lost in my mind, there is nothing left to fear.
Poison ivy is euphoric. The sensation of scratching those desperate itches, as calming as cigarettes, freeing as drink, as high and the hallucinatory bliss of a psilocybin trip. Oh yes, yes, the energy is nearly sexual, an epidermal orgasm. I feel the burning waves rippling and undulating up, down, up, down across my ankles and begging for more, more, more scratching, heavenly scratching, never stop, no, more, harder, yes!! It is climactic relief, release of catatonic liberation urges. The freezing hand hovering above the screaming skin, finally freed to tear into ecstasy, opening holes, wide holes, wide new holes in feeling. All in exchange for a little seeping blood, a tiny expense, and we consider it a supreme nuisance. So what of a little scar, a little red bump textural tattoo, a gleeful admittance of all the gleeful fun I've had itching in my room? Let it be, spread. It will grow with my ecstasy.
And what of this little drug? this little thing that moves on me and takes over my legs and the movements of my fingernails? It is double-bonded urushiol ripping out the undersides of sensitive, sensitive, once so definite, spirited, vigorous, durable skin. Urushiol— that is, the ugly pale-yellow heinous culprit responsible for the big bad bumpy rash. Responsible for all the good relief. It's the same little liquid in ivy, sumac, oak, all the same, just in different shapes, slightly different feelings. It is just a drug, and I've spent much of my life running from it in the same way that I've run from the other drugs I'm told are bad for me. And even when I've been high, even when I'm scratching those desperate itches, I've still avoided it, convinced myself it hurts, that it isn't good, like denying that going to the bathroom is one of the singular best isolated sensations of my day. Those tiny climaxes that masquerade as villains. I won't buy it.
And the thing, the thing with poison ivy is, I am rewarded for my pleasure. With each sacred itch comes another, it spreads. And then there is even more pleasure, even more euphoria enveloping my skin, until one day I may be inflamed, encased in a red bumpy cocoon of my ecstasy, from my burning ankles to the hot lobes dripping from my ears. It will be a transfiguration, truly, from the hard shell of smooth healthy skin, to the transcendent embodiment of burning, bleeding pleasure. I will be simmering, simpering, red and warm in that hot, hot feeling.