Divide and conquer: invert and multiply.

one grows, acquainted with the slow, dull ache
that holds, like woven fingers tightly clasped
around a word there is no breath to gasp
nor room between to loose the sound it makes.
there, twisted in, pressed by hot skin on skin,
the shape of things takes on the smallest groove.
with neither space to alter nor improve,
there is no foe to fight, no fight to win,
but only crooked fingers reaching in
and in and in to touch, until they pinch
that last raw nerve, which stretched but never broke.
then pain at last flares bright, and there begins
destruction, change, some fraction of an inch
through which dead years leak like a puff of smoke.