Mike Maguire CC
The Poem In Which My Trauma Never Happened.
& his hands never became leeches,
stealing strips of my flesh
as i pulled them away.
i forget how to cower in the face of love.
my emotions are not shrink-wrapped in plastic &
when a lover's hands reach for me,
goose bumps don't fly from my skin like a warning.
i am no longer stuck
in the darkness of that kitchen corner, see?
i no longer feel like something has been taken out of me, see?
there are no scars here & that scared little girl
who used to live in between my legs
is gone. see?
liquor still makes me feel sick & there is no solace
waiting for me at the bottom of a bottle. oh god, can't you see?
i have become unbroken & my pieces do not rattle
inside my body anymore.
Another Poem In Which I Beg For Salvation But Secretly Hope It Never Comes.
take these hands & run a hot knife through them. let my sins speak for themselves as they move through my blood. let me wash myself clean. does salvation not come with the cost of a life? a disappearance for an emergence. i will recount my regrets in my sleep - words forming of their own accord & pushing out of my lips. i think what i am trying to say is: break me open, god. the universe. my ancestors. anyone who is watching the snake eat its own tail. take these corrupted bones & crush them into gunpowder. make me a haunted church filled with arrowhead hallelujahs. every prayer streaming from my pores, a weapon. take my soul out of its casing & offer me up to myself. i have played saviour eighteen times & yet, i continue to fail.
When Mother Died.
we learned how to tell a lie
with our teeth on display.
how to bury tears in the spaces between
how to take the life away from
we did not expect to survive the
but to be human is to be elastic
so we stretched our hearts
until we could finally
love our father without wishing
it was his body giving way to rot
in the ground.
when mother died,
we killed her again inside our heads.
how else did you expect us to survive
how else did you expect our minds
to stagger but not fall under
the weight of grief?
disappearance is self preservation
and this we learned as we
dropped bits of mother like
offerings into the darkness.
we learned that to
survive certain things,
you have to
cling to each other in the midst of
the ruin and forget
how to remember
our eyes leak at memorials
and we smile as we
receive yet another pack of food
from yet another stranger.
we smile at the therapist and
tell our father we are doing just
but we do not remember what
mother looks like
and when our eyes accidentally
dance towards a picture of her,
ache for this stranger.
Adedamola Olabimpe is a law student in the University of Lagos, Nigeria. They have works published and forthcoming in Sub-Saharan Magazine, Ngiga Review, Praxis Magazine, Artmosterrific and elsewhere. They almost always have their earphones plugged in and they share poetry and occasional fiction on Instagram @borednigeriangirl.
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