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Explaining My Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Poetry

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Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

My brain is a broken time machine

• What is PTSD?

It is storytelling in the wind
Pages blown back and forth Chapter 8 giving way to Chapter 3
Familiar scenes that refuse to stay
On the left side of the bookmark

My brain is an archeologist

It is fossils learning to breathe
And ancient, buried memories
Breaking through the crust of the earth
It is a sticky rewind button
And an escalator changing direction at whim

My brain is a museum curator

It is “no” behind finger-smudged glass
And memories secured in
Elegant, golden frames
Those nights sealed in paint on canvas
Never to fade, never to fade

My brain is a rogue tour guide

It is monuments built over bruised skin
It is tears on Holy Ground
It is historic preservation and a gift shop
Cave paintings I keep going back to
Like spontaneous pilgrimage
Shrine to words I never said

And although
The forest fire raged over me years ago
The burn of his touch long gone
I am still sifting through the ashes
Still following the scent of burning wood

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

Thinkstock photo via negaprion

Originally published: March 27, 2017
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