I

I read to hold the terror of what you said could be done
I was taught to be grateful to be left untouched

Made to serve from birth

Your pain
is mine,
your devouring passion
is mine
Your stories,
All told before I could understand injustice

When you broke the silence,
did they tell you you were lying?
Was I the only one listening
Is that why you had to drill me

Grinding the fear into my bones
Making sure it was in the marrow

Planting your pain deep into my nightmares

I cannot hold you
My arms are not wide enough

Our stories are silent
Drowned in ignorance,

If I am not what they did to you.
Who am I?

If I cannot erase it, fight it, eradicate it
Who am I?

I cannot revoke our history
I cannot claim it as my own

You will die, soon
You will die because you were not rich enough

You were not kept safe

I am not thankful
I am disturbed

I release you
Allow you to live out the life you chose
And protect myself from your rage

The love you learned
I could not give it to anyone else
I taught myself a different way
It took a decade.
A decade of screaming
Of throwing my body around empty rooms
Of rocking myself to sleep,
avoiding the thought of you

I am separate,
they said the journey was only for hero’s

That being this alone, leaving the father, the mother
That that was a loneliness for exceptionally male,
and exceptionally courageous souls

Can they see how deep this wound is
How broken my heart is,
how broken it has been

I cut the chord again

to live in solitude
to pretend that I am not deeply lonely

I keep my hands in my lap

I keep your stories hidden

II

If I stop now I will disappear
lost in herstories

A persistant silence
A spell of protection

The white flag I was brought home in

Must I conjure the stories I was forced to forget
to meet the terror of their abuse now
at twenty-four

To know you violently
all the sounds and symbols project in dreams

She asked me

to nurture, to bring the medicine, the charts, the graphs
to imagine and direct the catalyst
to set the table
to move the chairs
to chant, to sing, to tune a room

She asked me to return as her daughter

as she died, but I could only play mid wife
to the new grief being birthed inside of her
to observe as she clawed at any steady thing

To be myself, maybe, to come honest

instead of a ghost
the ghost I had been, coming and going
evaporating and returning to request
something I could not return

I returned knowing her pain

I returned fully cognizant of her horrors
her trauma became my own

As I wept for lovers
As I wept to learn how to forgive an apology that would not come

I can only come clean
I can only let the water roll off

My diagrams, my maps
are foreign

The blue prints I made of your home
I drew each character
sister, aunt, niece,
wife and every absent relative

Printed every document
learned to facilitate the catalyst

Arrived selfless
forgetting the words that I learned
would harm you

The forever laying of the instruments, the weapons
the strategies
and playing comparison, until we’d arrived at a stale mate

I thought I would collect your poetry
I might ask where you hid it all

I could collect your life stories
and you would be published after your death

A poet who’s narratives I would not dare tell

Your pain is locked up tight within the sacrum, the coccyx,

the heart of the earth

You’ve prescribed magic to eliminate the cancer,
the crohn’s, the cysts,
the walking wounds that you dissociate from

Riddled with pain

You will die this way
You will die my mother

III

I held her nightmares in compounds.
Scooping stories up in my hands
to fold into loose spheres.

Flicking my wrist to suspend them

weightless over her patient body
memories huddled in organic groups
around the table.

I gaze at them unflinching
as they whisper amongst themselves.
They are introduced to the room.

Her terrors are suspended
as tiny galaxies.
I’ve mapped personalized constellations
for every wound and whimper.

Are my hands gentle, clean, strong enough
to approach her unguarded body,
her vulnerable belly projecting
the blue print of her traumas
upon the ceiling, along the walls.

Her secrets chatter at the back of my neck
and ache in my bones.
Red ants swarm my bare ankles.
I crawl hot with her ache.

Each trauma makes a request —
Not too quickly,
We have not been held tenderly.

I am sliding out of my head
and into my spine,
grounding myself in the dry terrain
of her nightmares.

Moving in to hold her sacrum
I am delivered fully to the material.
I feel the fascia in her pelvis
moaning with sorrows.
Her organs shrill with agony.

I am grateful that it is not my own.
Grateful for our separate flesh.
I have not experienced her horror.

I contemplate unwinding
with my palm beneath her.
Thinking of softness I meet discouragement.
Meddling with the magical thought that I could
psychically flush the pain out.

Her stories are concrete.
Set in the tissues, in the organs.
One thousand knives dig away at her.

The weight of her horrendous body
takes on the futility of a boulder.
Freed to be known through observation.
The knowledge alone does not liberate us.
The shared objective asks,
can you move this for us?

If I move this trauma in this moment
am I moving the world soul?
Can I heal the collective feminine wound by healing her?
Is the desire too ambitious?

Opening her diaphragm, we share a breath
That clears my dizzying thoughts
The doubtful philosophizing that detours me
from being present with her.

The shared breathe opens our one heart.
We take some flight.

Leaving the body I land on my knees for her.

I nod to the futility.

The useless bandage placed over the epidemic.
Poison that dominates themes of love,
walls off our hearts,
fractures our ability to trust.

No prayer binds or extinguishes
the violence living in her chronic pain
that rests in my hands.

We share the wreck.

M S C

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