I woke up with red flags pressed into my skin
a flush of thousands, golden sun gleaming in thrifts of blood,
I picked them up one by one
and smoldered each fighter between my forefinger and thumb.
The earth wants me to keep living
so badly it’s sending troops
to fight the battles raging in my head.
But I just swipe my hands along my skin
knocking each mast set into the follicles of trauma
rooted deep inside my belly.
If you pull them all out
I’ll unravel like a twenty thousand year old tree.
No I don’t just want to tear myself out of the world
I want to burn alive
until the only remainder of the paths you scorched into my skin
You see, my courage is afraid to eat
and my bravery is stumbling over its own lost feet
I don’t recognize my fractured eyes
that were blown up running into land mines
fighting to get away from you.
But don’t worry.
I’m keeping our secrets tucked nicely away
in the last fifteen birthday boxes my mother gave me,
the candles scorching their way into the cake
as I shouted ‘God make me safe’-
a wish no six year old should know how to scream
and right now I’m screaming fuck you and our sick society-
I can’t even put these trauma-riddled
words into poetry
because all I can think of when I think of love
is the way I screamed in the backseat of your car
and all I can think of when I think of hope
is the desperation that clawed its way into my chest
every time you offered to babysit.
The next time someone asks why I don’t finish a meal
I’ll show them the structure plans you carved into my thighs
for years to come when my hips would swing
Now the only thing left hanging is my kneck
in an attempt to dry out the body
you left bleeding on your sheets
cracking your knuckles at the door
saying ‘we just went out for some ice cream.’
And the doctors wonder why I threw out all the spoons
when my mom brought home rocky road the day I learned what is was to touch the moon.
This is me ripping down the stop signs
that no one paid attention to
This is me blaring the radio every night
just to get your fucking footsteps out of my head
This is me opening my rubber-banded throat
This is me reaching for her right-handed touch
This is me clawing the edge of the world over
looking for the grave you cleverly composed
This is me pulling my eighteen-year-old self from her first suicide attempt
This is me screaming breathe.
Am I Still Human?