TRAUMA IN FIVE PARTS

I.
ripping me open from the chestplate down
Xanax twice daily to curb
the seizures
the anger
the panic.
started smoking like my dad
just to watch something combust between my fingers.
take three showers a day,
change my clothes every time I leave the house.
arrange my plate just right —
eggs, potatoes, yogurt, peanut butter.
shop online for the rush and
feel the post-purchase guilt like smoking weed
when I was sixteen.
$12 in my bank account by Monday.

II.
we fuck so good for 45 minutes that I can
barely walk the next day
and he calls me beautiful and means it.
when the endorphins wear off,
the familiar rawness in my crotch makes me feel
dirty and gross and
I stare at the ceiling when I pee so I don’t go back
to the night my body was ripped away from me.
maybe all this sex is supposed to erase his memory
but it’s the only one that never seems to fade.

III.
sometimes I don’t remember things.
gaping holes in my past were normal,
but now I can’t remember where I was yesterday
or who I talked to or
how I made it home alive.
my mind stays three inches above my body,
my body in the mirror a stranger
with glazed eyes and bones just beginning

to peek out from behind the collar of my shirt.
I couldn’t point me out in a lineup.

IV.
fingers down my throat because I feel “sick”
and waking up the next day
when it hurts to swallow.
the bruise on my knee is a perfect place
to etch angry lines into my skin and
once I feel the relief it’s hard to stop.
I can’t stop thinking that I’m only living
for other people
but at least I’m living for something.

V.
trauma is not kind.
not in the beginning, or when it
starts to settle.
I know that there is no end to trauma,
just peace, maybe, someday.
so I hope for it. I try for it.
and in the meantime I cry for it.

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