trauma is not sacred

violence is not special pain is not holy suffering does not make angels abuse defines no one you are more than the things that hurt you you are more than the people you have hurt do not make an altar to your woundedness do not make a fetish out of mine a body belongs to no one a memory is not made to be eaten does it titillate you to hear about assault if i told you my story, would you swallow it whole if i confessed my sins would you feed me to the beasts to purge your own i will show you mine if you show me yours we have all seen the darkness now give us the dawn tell me about the joy you keep in the hollow spaces between your bones tell me again how you laughed when you realized that you were not wholly unlovable i’ll tell you again how i cried when my best friend told me that I was not a bad person remember how we used to count the lines on our palms when we were little how we used to try to read the future for its gifts how we used to make lists of the things we would dream of when finally we were free i will make you a list of the things i’m grateful for i will sing you a litany of reasons to be alive i want to know the songs you wake up for in the morning i want to marvel at the unbelievable graciousness of your being i know that i am capable of pouring love like lavender oil into your cupped palms there is forgiveness like honey pooled in the chambers of our hearts you are the thing i am most grateful for all bodies know how to heal themselves given enough time all demons carry a map of heaven and their scars beneath the skin of every history of trauma
                there is a love poem waiting deep below

Kai Cheng Thom, “trauma is not sacred” from a place called No Homeland. Copyright © 2017 by Kai Cheng Thom. Reprinted with the permission of Arsenal Pulp Press. All rights reserved.