“Get Over It” – A Poem by Anu Elizabeth Roche.

Get Over It?

TRIGGER WARNING: References to sexual abuse, rape, rape culture.

 

Some of us

really try.

 

Sometimes

we run from  the bed

and head straight

for the shower.

 

Watch the water

wash away

something that looks like

milk but feels like glue;

wonder why

the water isn’t blue and purple

from the bruises on our thighs.

 

Scrub and scrub and scrub,

until we’re sure we’ve

peeled out

dirt from skin,

skin from flesh,

flesh from bone,

bone from nothing.

 

Till we are

nothing

and

therefore

cannot

feel.

 

 

Some of us

push our shoulders back.

 

Delicately shrugging them

as if the memories

would fall off, lighter

than feathers.

 

Swallowing the catch in  our throats when we

explain it

coldly

clinically; the voice of a doctor

observing a corpse.

 

Wake up with that

metallic taste of

failure

in our tongues,

blaming ourselves

for the nightmares that make sure

we will never

forget.

 

What are nightmares but

thoughts

buried alive?

 

 

Some of us

do the blaming

ourselves

before anyone else

could possibly

grab the chance.

 

We learn.

 

Learn to abuse our bodies

for freezing.

 

Learn to abuse our tongues

for staying stuck

to the roof of our mouths.

 

Learn to abuse our legs hands thighs face

for not attempting to

magically disappear.

 

Learn to abuse our heads for

not believing

that our bodies

aren’t  ours.

 

Learn to abuse ourselves

for not

learning enough.

 

 

Some of us

cover the memories

in black satin

and put it away.

 

We compartmentalize.

 

Lock them in the centre of our chests

and flush the key down a

lavishly decorated toilet.

 

Its absence

is a jack-in-the-box

lying in the corner of a

dust-coated attic,

trapped.

 

Its rusted springs groaning

for release.

Its hinges slowly

flaking – eroding – chipping – breaking –

free.

 

Till that box

can no longer

bear to rein

all the blood and the vomit and the

violation, in…

 

and the puppet bursts free

from its springs,

flying straight

at you.

 

Dust won’t make

a jack’s mocking grin

disappear.

 

 

Take care.

We might be one of those

normal people

with normal lives

and normal partners;

ticking time-bombs,

living breathing monuments

to a lie.

 

When we

begin to know

we will make the mistake

of letting you

tell us

how to act.

 

Parents siblings friends

leaders

people we’ve never

even met.

 

You make sure we

live our lives

not remembering

the shape of our mouths.

 

Make sure we can’t

for the life of us

remember who placed that

piece of scotch tape there.

 

When did we learn

not to take it off?

 

How many years did we spend

tasting our own vomit

because our lips

stayed forever sealed?

 

 

Some of us let the pain

take over.

 

Because we can’t not.

 

Because we wonder

every night

if in the beds of our lovers

we’ll cry out the names of our

abusers.

 

Because we shrink back and scream

when you give us strawberries coated

in fresh cream, when we’re

asked to sit in the

back seat of a car.

 

Because there will always be

at least one teddy bear –

its stuffing ripped out from the

depths of its belly –

at the bottom of our trashcans,

that stayed silent witness

to our pleas.

 

Because it won’t leave.

 

No  matter how often we close our eyes

and belt out songs we don’t even like

just to shut the noise out.

 

Because it

fucking hurts.

 

 

Some of us

can do nothing

but boil.

 

We need release.

 

 

We did not survive all that

to make you the judge and jury

of how we manage the shipwrecks

our futures

may have become.

 

Getting over it

is our choice

to make.

 

Whenver

we want.

In whatever way

we want.

 

If we want.

 

 

All of us

know

how it feels

to have our consent

ripped out from our throats

and thrust into

every

open

orifice.

 

None of us need you

to put us through the

stripping of that

consent

again.

 

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