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
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.