My Body Knows Trauma

Today
my right foot was numbed
to remove 4 toenails,
to let go of an embarrassment
I’ve held on to for at least 15 years.
I couldn’t feel the pain of his tools
digging and ripping
but my body knows trauma
like the backs of all its parts
because I began sweating
and feeling sick to my stomach
and thought I might pass out.
Instead,
they put something cold on my forehead
and I took a million deep breaths
and felt better.
The nails will never grow back
and
soon,
I’ll have the same procedure done
on the other foot.
In a month, I’ll be having surgery
to remove a reproductive system
I no longer need or want.
I will be letting go
of an unnecessary piece of myself
and my body will once again know trauma.
The pain will come later
when the numbness wears off.
The other day,
I burned a letter I wrote to her
that she will never read
and my body knew a different trauma:
letting go of something
I still wanna hold on to.

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Burning Desire

The weather
hasn’t been able to decide
if it wants to laugh or cry.
Today it’s doing a little of both
and I keep thinking
that maybe I don’t like your name
because in third grade
I wrote a note for a girl
with your same name
and included a $5 bill.
She gave the money back
because everyone but me
knows it can’t buy things like love.
Or maybe it’s because
each of its 5 letters
ricochets off all the parts of my brain
that refuse to let it go.
You are a beautiful arsonist
turning my face hot
and bashfully red,
making me wish
we could set fire
to my bedsheets together
or that I could sleep in the ashes
alone
with every burned thought of you.

Rain

Sometimes,
the rain falls
like it needs to.
Like crashing against
a windshield
is the only comfort
it will find.
It falls with a  purpose,
making its point,
arguing its love
for making puddles.

Sometimes,
I fall in love
with the same purpose.
To feel the crashing,
to be intentionally reckless.
To see her smile
and choke on that poison.

Lamplight

I get lost
in the hour
I sit with you.
Under the spotlight lamp,
I confess everything
with my eyes.
You ask me if there’s anything else
like I’ve committed a crime
and you’re looking
for the one good thing
to write down.
I am a collection
of lined post-it notes,
an ego boost
because you know too much.

Breathe Them In

Growing up,
the other kids always said
that holding your breath
while passing a cemetery
would keep the spirits
from entering through your mouth.
As if a thousand families
would have to visit your house
just to mourn their loved ones.
You’d have to hope
that your gag reflex
could handle so many ghosts,
that your throat wouldn’t get sore,
your heart wouldn’t get heavy.
That you wouldn’t end up
with bleeding lungs
from coughing up the dead.

Office Door

You left your door wide open
but you were already
gone for the day.
Everyone’s secrets
were in the hallway
escaping the darkness
of your office.
They were in a language
all of us can understand.
They wanted to be found
and dissected
like animals
in a high school science class
for the credit
of getting through all the pain.
I asked the front desk
if you meant to leave
everything so vulnerable,
if you needed some space from it all.
The girl working said no
and that she’d go back there
to lock everything that got out back up.
I hope when you get there in the morning
it’s not all too much to handle.
I hope you remember
to lock up next time.