chapter three: her name is
they told me to smile as i stepped onto the firing line,
about to be shot with the reminders of my own vulnerability.
the bathroom tile made my bare feet flinch,
cold floors and warm walls don’t make much sense but
they were real,
just as wanting so badly to live but trying so hard to die
thus the conundrum of my reality.
the nurses asked me to remove my armor, telling me
i wasn’t in battle anymore and it was time for them to check my wounds.
my tee shirt never felt more like a bulletproof vest
as it did that night,
nothing felt more like a stab in the back aimed only to expose me
as the words “we need to do a body check,
take your clothes off,
show me your scars”
did that night.
i retreated shamefully from the bathroom,
hating having shown every inch of myself to strangers,
even if they were just nurses
doing just their job.
my face burned crimson, just
like the lines hidden by the bandages, another
piece of me that clings to the hope of being erased, or
at least hidden in white.
i was a child wandering into her parents bedroom at three in the morning,
scared of my nightmares, seeking comfort, a crumpled
blanket in my hand and fear in my mind.
only this time, i was older.
i was alone, there was no king-sized bed to protect me
from the monsters that haunt my head.
i stood in the doorway of what once could have been my parents bedroom,
white and blank and loveless.
it was too sterile, too immaculate, too empty,
for the girl who cradled chaos in her clasped hands,
sprawled out on the bed opposite what i now called mine,
a beautiful slice of destruction and color
in a room where everything else seemed to be erased.
her name was teanna.
her name was roommate.
her name was echos of drugs in her bloodstream,
her name was depression,
her name was the white lines upon her caramel colored skin
of her own destruction,
whispered my own right back at me
when i wouldn’t speak for the first two days.
her name was “hannah, you may be broken,
but you are not impossible to put back together”,
her name was sad smiles,
her name was “what happened to your arms,”
her name was me responding by pointing at hers and saying
“same thing as yours”,
and soft at the same time, and
“hannah, i’m teanna, and i know you have a shitty life,
you need guidance, my girl,
i’m your big sister now”.
her name is my big sister and
her name is nothing but echoes these days
but her name will always be written into my poems,
laced between the lines and
shouted in the dark to help me remember
there is always a light within someone, somewhere.
even when bullets of vulnerability pierce through your
sometimes shattering is the only way to let the light through,
the firing line is just there to keep you safe.