he walks through
your voice up the walls of your throat – his breath smells of blood
and your mouth tastes of his words
every memory salt and pepper and
iron in one.
trauma is a meal, served on your
heaving stomach. you roll out the
finery and tell me to eat,
eat while i can
while you’re still breathing, weeping
apologies onto the bloated wood of this dinner table where we sit
like prisoners and laugh
as if it does not hurt to smell the rot at your core.
playing pretend / playing at know-it-all almost grown-ups / eyes, averted, words rolling from a script i do not remember learning.
(i promise: i do not see your fingers shake as you feed me the pieces
he left of you.)
– t. bennett ; @raggedhearts
an important note: this is a piece written after a lot of conversation on abuse, and hours of introspection – speaking to friends who have been victims of abuse (sexual, and emotional), and being one myself, it’s become increasingly (painfully) clear that the effects of it can be found in places you wouldn’t expect, that recovery does not and will never comply to the supposed rules we’d like to impose on it. trauma is messy, bloody, bruising. trauma crops up at the times we’d most like – love – peace. it’s there, on our shoulders and backs, curled up in the latest hours of the night. it’s in the aftertaste of a meal that reminds you, inexplicably, of their face (because, you ate it together, once / it was your shared favourite / it was their favourite). you shake and shiver, fearful, watchful, paranoid, nightmare-ridden; you laugh, study, work and play. you’re a person of odds, evens, catch-22’s and contradictions – you’re very much a survivor, long-term, constantly.
this is a poem capturing a sliver of what it means to be a survivor of abuse – from the perspective of a victim, communicating with another. I hope the intimacy of it, the pain and intensity of the emotions we experience are ones you feel, for even a moment, while reading.