[no title]

magic lurks
in the space between fragility
and resiliency. A living
being, an uncertain
future, exhaustion, the refusal
to quit. One breath, one phone call
one bite at a time-
a constant tension
impossible to ignore
the strike
of the clock that stands
by the door
impossible to ignore,
impossible to ignore.
the strength of her hands
once inconsequential
impossible to ignore impossible
to ignore impossible to
ignore

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unbearable

There were words spoken
out of turn
and a sharp twist of truth sprang out
ugly, unwanted, embarrassing- the very thing
that was supposed to be disguised
appeared boldly and she-
left voiceless and without
the opportunity to shift
her weight in preparation
for attack- tripped backwards, slipped
behind her words and left
without us noticing, while her body remained
at the table, quietly listening
to nothing at all, her eyes
carving alibis
into each breath

This.

(trigger warning for sexual assault content)

She refuses
to remember
the way the two of them made her
spread
her legs-
the living room floor-
to teach me
how to remove
a still-forming fetus,
the proof
of one man’s
indiscretion.

“This will help,”
one said, “you not
have children
out of wedlock.”

This
will help.
This is help.
This is what help looks like
to her.

Soul on Fire

[The title for this poem was inspired by the Ferdinand Foch quote, “The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire,” as quoted recently by The Better Man Project Blog (here). Everything else is my own.]

First, the recurring
Exposure. The residual
Re-experiencing of a scene
Witnessed. Directly.
Lived. Personally.

The correlating stress:
Reactive. Dissociative.
Persistent. Intrusive. A heightened
Arousal.

A diagnosis: internalized.
Acutely disordered. Insecure.
Inhibited. Restricted social
Engagement. Avoidant attachment.
Neglect(ed).

She is remembering her
Self. Her soul is
On fire and this
tumble
of words
can’t describe the inflammation
caused by the friction
of her
still burning
trauma.

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