bleach

a poem about taboo trauma.

the most traumatic times of my life,
of this life (and
most of my others, i’m sure)
weren’t filled with the
kind
of trauma that people
can openly show sympathy to.
glamorous trauma.
acceptable trauma.

and most days, i wish
that my traumas were
a terminal illness, or
a bad car accident, leaving me
visibly paralyzed.
my brand of paralysis
is taboo
shadowy
that of whispers.

no one wants the person
whose trauma leaves stains.
annoying drops of splashed juice
on their new white clothes.

but i’ve been bleaching out
my own stains,
not giving a fuck about who thinks
i ruined their outfit.
bleaching out the betrayal as
everyone smiles, ignoring the faint
smell of my cleaning supplies.

and as everyone keeps up
the appearances,
as everyone looks at me
with that same vague pity,
with that same stupid awkwardness,
i
smile
as i play their own game back
and withdraw
with grace
and
dignity.

the only one i care about
betraying is
myself.