Three

He cut me off, pretending I was nothing to him

He thought he could pretend he never knew me despite what he took

He whispered his secrets into my neck thinking that would make me open up to him

Thinking I would take that one last thing from him

Foolishly I thought he would be the one

Fantasizing about the shitty apartment we would own together because that is all our generation can afford

He was the one reason I would ever get in trouble

After his leaving, I thought nicotine would fill the gaping hole in my soul

He is living his life perfectly fine but I am going to spend lifetime recovering from him

The bruises his words left on my brain

The assault I didn’t know to call by its name until three years later

I wish I could say I wish him peace yet the amount of pain he left on my doorstep wants me to gift him with the devastating consequences of what he did

Three years ago I quit him, now how do I quit the nicotine I replaced him with?

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You once told me you had an alcohol problem

A new lover lies in the same bed you once laid with me in

His broad shoulders rival your long legs and dark eyes

I can’t untangle myself from you; your deception knots around me and wring my heart out of any love I could offer someone else

You said you grew up abused but in the same breath unloaded your own slew of manipulations onto me

I learned about abusive relationships in 8th grade health class and I thought I would be smart enough to recognize if it happened to me

Until it was four years later and came to me in the form of a beautifully broken man I thought I could fix

And four years later I am trying to fix myself

But how can I forget those brown eyes looking down at me like I was the only thing you needed in this damned world

For six months after your leaving I tried drinking myself into oblivion

I still haven’t forgotten all those letters you wrote, hidden in my dresser

No amount of alcohol or drugs has drowned them out of my memory

I hope you got the help you needed

I didn’t

Ode to the Woods

Kids giggling between trees, atop rocks, exploring, imagining

Parents indoctrinating the caution you need to take when you get home and check for ticks from birth

Running though swamps barefoot trying to catch that elusive frog

The woods, she knows all of my secrets

Inhaling her sweet smell with the exhale of the first tastes of nicotine

Feeling the rain on my skin while trying to forget the souls that will never meet your excellence

For they are too afraid of the bugs that the young embraced by you learn to ignore

Or they left this earth as quick as I wished to

Solitude left me planning at how you would embrace me when I executed the blueprints of my death

Imagining the moment my heart stopped beating and I would return to the depths of you

Taking the secrets only you knew with me

Returning to the place I emerged as my ancestors before me

 

Stories for You

My eyes may betray me if you ask me if I had my heart broken and I reply with “no of course not”

Then I will have to tell you how once a man who now is merely a ghost warmed the other half of my twin bed

Or, more accurately, our bodies were tangled together in peaceful slumber because we were fine with not having nearly enough room

And I reveal that for a month after he left I would still feel his warmth next to me even though he was eons away

But you will have to know how I befriended loneliness

There will be stories you will never know for my breathing will betray me with the pain of remembering

Though you will have to know that my heart told me about you, oh how it told me to just wait and see how your eyes shine

 

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes can show you the universe hiding in a person

My first love’s light caramel eyes brought me to one where I am no longer damaged

On every planet he showed, someone like me could be loved

The first time I looked into yours, they did not show me the red flags through the rose-colored glasses you slipped on me

Under fluorescent lights, the darkness under the surface showed just the tip of the iceberg

Your hands were careful not to leave bruises but your desires did not match mine

Those eyes guilt me until I did not know what my voice whispering “no” in your ear sounded like

Your eyes never spoke about erasing “no” from my vocabulary

Teaching me not to look into any but yours for you were too afraid for them to reveal your secrets hiding behind closed doors

Eyes darkening to cocoa if I misspoke

Lightening to sweetness when I did what you wished – the color of the coffee I now drink to stay awake

So I no longer dream of your visceral kisses convincing me that your yearnings were also mine

Every lover since you has had eyes the color of the sky touching the sea

After you I could not meet anyone’s eyes until I understood the stories imprinted in mine by you

When I remember the brown eyes of a lover, I try to forget yours

The eyes of my first love showed me thousands of unwritten adventures and histories of the sprawling, creaking houses of New Orleans and the creeks in the bayou

But I left him for you

Now I wish I had written those stories waiting in his eyes filled with warmth

He taught me how to love

He showed me the beauty of brown eyes that you so easily took away

 

 

To the boy with the warmest eyes, I never said thank you for being my anchor at sea in stormy waters, for being the light in the darkness

To My Sister

Who carries the anger for the people who branded me with this trauma

The same anger I once had

 

There are weeks where it is all just a hazy memory yet I’m still stuck looking over my shoulder

My mind has never left fight or flight and this is just a reflex now

Words for what they did never sit quite right

All of them taste sour on my tongue but I am told not to sugar coat the pain

The first stage of grief is denial and I have been grieving who I should have grown to become

At 13 I wanted to be a surgeon, a year later I wanted to have left this earth

Parts of me still believe who I was at 13 is still there in all her naive brilliance but I cannot unearth her

Maybe my 14 year old wish did come true but denial is a strong drug

Actions speak louder than anything and I thought all the kindness and forgiveness I had for them would help them change

The sun and stars were stripped from my sky in return

I could not forge the light at the end of the tunnel of my suffering

My suicide note was whispered in each minute action

I ended up bottling up my anger and throwing it out to sea

It would be no use anywhere else

Maybe you should too

Poisoned Nightmare

Opening my eyes to a clenched jaw and heart I’m sure is screaming loud enough to wake up the whole neighborhood

But the soft sunlight warms my partner’s peaceful, slumbering skin

Rib cage rising and falling in rhythm until a snore disrupts it

It was just another nightmare about your hands molding to my jaw

Convincing my tongue that the poison you were breathing in to me was sweet

Arguing the obituary you wrote for yourself sitting in your nightstand was an adequate excuse for slitting my throat too

Because then we will be together forever without your mother standing in between

My love’s leg twitching brings me back to a world I am still barely able to recognize myself in

He is teaching me how to love again

Yet many days I still feel your hands tightening around my throat

Filling my lungs with your sadness

While I was already drowning in my own

The walls are still closing in on me

You eroded me into dust and everyone keeps reminding me of the mountain I was before you – standing loud and proud

It’s been years and my voice is still the quiet whistling of the wind, not the quaking, rumbling earth I was before

His arms wrap around my waist and pulls me in closer as he’s still at peace in his untainted dreams

And I have to remind myself that it has been years

But a few short years of destruction can undo thousands of development

That’s exactly what you did to me

I hope you never make it back to me

Your dose of poison for so long has not bled itself out and I will never be ready for another

Daily Prompt: Present

Trauma survivors are noted to experience derealization

Meaning life is lived like a dream you can’t quite wake up from

No matter how hard I try – pills, the blood, trying any drug that will make me feel closer to earth

I could never wake up when I really needed to

Wishing it was all a dream when it wasn’t

What happened to me remains as a limestone memorial reaching the sky

Memory picking away at it with a knife making no headway – I never wanted to remember

I wanted it to be a dream but instead what was suppose to be the best years of my life I was convinced it was all a dream

Stuck in a loop rewinding the previous day over and over and over

Because did I really live it if she wasn’t actively hurting me? Giving me what I deserved?

 

One day years later, I woke up in another nightmare

Panicked because it couldn’t be happening again with a boy’s sickly sweet smile drawing me to his addictive mahogany eyes

Abuse can’t happen twice, can it?

I’m stuck in replay again because every day passes without him hurting me

But that’s all I’m convinced I’m worth

Someone bring me back to the present

via Daily Prompt: Present

Roots

A famine lost our stories that we were suppose to pass down in the language we got stolen when they cut out our tongues

I like thinking we came from the cliffs with the cold ocean hardened us to steele

But I know it is more likely my father’s great-grandparents came with hollowed out cheeks, able to count every rib protruding from skin to stubborn to give way already

My father grew up in Boston, a city notorious for its diaspora population

As an impoverished kid he saw his fair share of street fights, living in his fair share of projects

Noting he was one of 5 Irish kids in a disciplinary high school full of Italians

Maybe that’s why he spent so much time running and teaching us that the English we had grown up with was wrong outside the house

Because in his youth he was lesser than due to his roots, and the dialect we were all taught would give us away

Scars of the past still linger in the memory of my father

Yet knowing I have the same stubborn as his mother is the best heirloom I could have recieved

Daily Prompt: Sympathize

 

To the girl struggling with her new disabled identity –

I see your frustration and fear

I see your anger

This new adjective was added to descriptors of myself when I entered college despite the diagnosis at 14

Figuring out that having to think more about fully picking up my feet wasn’t something everyone else had to do didn’t come until college

And damn is ice difficult when you get around on malfunctioning feet all the time

Some days I want to whisper that I understand your struggle yet I still carry shame in this uncomfortable adjective tacked to me

Denial eats away at you saying “I’m normal, I just have to get around a little differently”

Ending with you realizing you now have to navigate the world while reminding yourself what your body is incapable of trudging through

Finding pride in your body and the way it functions unlike the next person’s is a lonely journey when you’re one in 250,000

One day there will be too many falls and black bruises kissed by pavement equally as dark

My side will be kissed by a cane to aid my feet unable to leave the ground behind without dragging

But right now you can only see my hands tremble, unable to wrap around fine motor skills, some days worse than the others

Medication covers the pseudo-seizure episodes plaguing my body too many times a day for me to avoid becoming a target

I will not die of this but some days I am afraid my muscles will betray me enough to do so

I still see you though, and I hope you hear me whispering that you are not alone in this

via Daily Prompt: Sympathize