I have actual PTSD. (Abby, how can I explain this in a way you will understand? You are an unreliable narrator.) (Can you get PTSD from imagining things?) (You are such a difficult child, kids like you are the ones who give their parents PTSD.) (He says it’s real and I am so relieved.)

I can’t stop thinking about

fingers. Like flowers that never unfold,

there are fingers that never let go.

There are ghosts that still

drift up and down my blood like flower petals,

recycling from cramped fist to locked lungs

to how the city lights

look like glass shards or angels

and how I want to crash out the window

and join them.

I jump out the window

in dozens of dreams.

Car keys look sharp enough

to slit my wrists.

I keep telling myself

I was never hit

(she always said that I lived

in a fantasy world).

But the room spun

and the room lifted

and I was saying

don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry

(I didn’t hit you

hard enough to make you dizzy)

and she was saying

don’t tell don’t tell don’t tell

and I stood in a swirl of blue bruises

and needling fluorescent lights

and shattering voices

and I didn’t feel a thing.

Bruises melt away

like popcorn in your mouth.

Memories latch onto your bones

like wrenches.

Yesterday I learned that it isn’t normal

for your parents to drag you by your hair.

Today the social worker told me

I have actual PTSD,

and I went home and thought,

I tricked him.

I tricked him by telling the truth.

 

Note: to clarify: they did hit me and they did give me bruises, but the bruises were not from being hit, as far as I can remember, they were from where I hit the floor when they knocked me over. I think it’s okay that the poem is sort of tangled because my experience of all this is/was tangled.

 

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3 thoughts on “I have actual PTSD. (Abby, how can I explain this in a way you will understand? You are an unreliable narrator.) (Can you get PTSD from imagining things?) (You are such a difficult child, kids like you are the ones who give their parents PTSD.) (He says it’s real and I am so relieved.)

  1. Pingback: I have actual PTSD. (Abby, how can I explain this in a way you will understand? You are an unreliable narrator.) (Can you get PTSD from imagining things?) (You are such a difficult child, kids like yo ... | ▇ ▅ █ ▅ ▇ ▂ ▃ ▁ ▁ ▅ ▃ ▅

  2. I have two thoughts here.

    1. This poem is beyond anything superlative I can think of to describe it. For example: “Like flowers that never unfold,/there are fingers that never let go./There are ghosts that still/drift up and down my blood like flower petals,/recycling from cramped fist to locked lungs”. And “Bruises melt away/like popcorn in your mouth.” You have an incredible gift for using words, creating images and metaphor — I can’t say this enough.

    2. Some of this reminds me of my own childhood. I have invisible bruises on my soul. I had real bruises, too. Judging from the sound of this poem, this is just like some of what I went through. Which prompts me to ask: are you ok?

    You can find me backchannel if you ever need to talk. My contact info is on my “About the Poet” page.

    -Nicole

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