You Are Not There

Trigger Warning: This post contains an extensive discussion of abuse and a moderate discussion of anorexia, as well as a brief mention of pornography and rape. 


Home is a gasping thing
Blowing smoke from its lungs to yours,
Till you asphyxiate
Because you can’t remove images from your harddrive mind,
Like the time with the TV and what seven-year-old you caught him watching,
And how you recognized evil and relearned fear
But you had to live with him anyway
So you filed the incident in your mind’s basement.
Or this: how he made you remove undergarments
So he could hurt you better with a wooden spoon
When you were thirteen and developed, even though you begged.
Or how he threw sharp objects at your face
Because he was bored and it amused him to see you flinch
And bleed
How you said “please stop” too often
So it didn’t count—
Of course it counted.
You shouldn’t have felt:
Fear on the staircase, fear when his footsteps
Shook the house.
He is so large—there is an excess of him, and you hate excess.
To be fat is to be him;
You would carve every ounce of fat from your body
With a kitchen knife
If it left your bones free of him.
And he didn’t even do what the hands in the barn did
But the hands left fingerprints that he somehow found.
He dug down into bruised skin with the reminder
That you are stupid fat, ugly fat, evil fat,
That you are dirty, every atom.
The only time you remember him saying you looked nice
Was when you wore a skirt you knew was too short.
Being complimented felt like being scraped,
Because always in conversations his eyes talked to your legs
(And people said you had nice legs),
So you stopped wearing shorts and stood behind chairs
Because even though you couldn’t remember—yet—
The hands in the barn, your fear could.
And when you piled on weight, like a safety blanket,
His hands became a little




There is no grave deep enough
To bury your nightmares alive,
But you are allowed
To leave them behind.

Self, you are not there anymore.


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