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Some days there are echoes

Telling me to be quiet

Threatening anyone who could help me

Should I be foolish enough to ask

The nightmares lasted for years

Can you sleep with them dying

Night after night

No end

Gone are all you loved

Your fault always your fault

Selfish because you asked them

To rescue you

In the dream he always found you

Stopped you

They died but he left you alive

Always the one survivor

To face alone another day

Until you escaped

Outlived him

The world roils trying to expel those like him

A different world intolerant of wrongs done

To the innocent


The world begs for a performance

Judges the performance performative

Punitively reprimanding


Here I am quiet

Silent silence slinking slipping

Support in the dark

A touch here

A lift there

Carefully so as not to draw

The wrong sort of attention

Just in case

There’s an unseen danger

Can I sing of wrongs and rights

Can I tell a story of terror and light

How bad was it

Reflects off of the cavern of disbelief

Would I shake at night

Refuse to close my eyes in case my life

Was a dream

And if I awoke back then instead of now

And had to do it again

Over and over

Might I refuse to close my eyes

Stave off drowsiness and sleep

I can’t go back and live again

Can I

Could I

Survive it twice and three times or more

Every time my thoughts touch the memory

A little less pain

Can I speak then of yew berries and cedar chips

How the maple tree held me in its arms while I read

There among the branches invisible to all

If I am silent shout at me to speak

I will disappear as well

I have been a shadow for so long in hiding

That the light can hurt

Hot bright touch to the skin long shielded

I can disappear in plain sight

I can crawl away

Turn sideways and you will forget I was ever there

I take the stage and sing now

Will I trip on the way down or on the way up

Falling always to the ground

Ready to run

Skittish legs and darting eyes

Know all the exits and obstacles between me and them

Who hears me in the night screaming but gods and angels and goddesses

Who withheld and withheld and withheld

While I burned in hell glowing white hot with rage and sorrow and pain

I long for the warm fire of love

A touch of tenderness and vitality

An ember of hope

And a voice that does no harm

Either from silence or sound

I evaluate every note


row of barriers on empty track
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

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