you are eyes squeezed tightly {poetry}

Initially, this was a tough piece to share. I’ve sat down in an attempt to write a letter to the people who hurt me when I was little a thousand times. And a thousand times, all I could ever write was “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.” Less than therapeutic. A few months ago, I decided to try again. This was the product. I sat down with the intention to prove how good I was doing, how healed I was, how much progress I had made. My attempts were humbled automatically as I read my tear-stained words back to myself and realized I still have a long way to go. I was frustrated at another failed attempt, and I buried the poem in my notebook to be revisited at a later date; the next time I was feeling “extra strong”.
That poem burned holes in my notebook, visited me in my dreams, and did all but hop out and share itself with the world. I couldn’t understand why my own words were haunting me so desperately, until I sat down and reread them again.
This is not a failed attempt at strength. This is the truest, most vulnerable form of strength that exists. I will never be healed or mended entirely, and I will never reach a point where I don’t remember every tiny screaming detail about what happened. But I am alive. I am here. and I am finally to a point where I am allowing myself to feel everything my body tried to keep locked inside for so many years. If I can help even one other person understand that they are not alone, it’s worth all of the fear and hesitation sharing this poem brings. It’s time to break the silence.
It’s time to become a flower that grows far beyond the muddy mess.
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These words have been a long time coming…

They’ve tried to come out

so many times,

but I swallowed them

and pushed them down,

like clothes through a laundry chute.

I buried them

with sand from the ocean

and mud growing flowers

from under the trampoline.

Until one day I realized

that you are the mud.

You are the mud

covering my hands,

making its way to my cheeks,

 and my clothes,

and my hair,

and my shoes.

You are the tracks in the kitchen,

when I sneak lemonade,

even though mom said no more

until dinner.

You are the footprints

following behind me,

no matter where I go.

You are the memories

in the closet where

you stole everything.

They tell you to share

when you’re little…

To always split the cookie in half

when you’re having

a play date with your friend,

and to let her pick

which half she wants

because she is your guest.

I was your guest

and you took everything

away from me.

You took me in the closet

All of me.


and over,

and over again.

You gave me memories

that turned into ulcers,

trying to claw their way

out of my body so hard

that I started to bleed.

But I can’t bleed you out.

You aren’t a thorn in my side,

or a sliver from bare feet

on a dock at the lake.

You aren’t a drifting eyelash

causing blurry vision

that I can clear in just a blink.

You are eyes squeezed tightly,

and silent screams.

You are cold-sweat nightmares,

and taping my eyes to stay awake,

because I am scared

of what I will remember next…

You are hiding in the crawl space

under the stairs,

because I don’t want anyone

to hear me speak my memories aloud.

I have tried to tell you

these words so many times,

but I wore out the H on my keyboard.

from typing hate so many times,

until all I could write was,

I ate you

I ate you

I ate you

And I did…

You live so deeply within

my bones that I swear

I can feel you shiver

from within my spine

when it’s cold outside.

You have surrounded my heart

with so much barbed wire

that I feel tiny pinpricks in my chest

every time someone makes

my heart beat fast.

You are the lead in my shoes,

and the cracked windshield of my car,

and the anchor dragging the boat,

all the way to the bottom of the ocean.

You are the monster discovered

so deep that science can’t even explain it.

They say there’s no way life

could survive down there.

That it isn’t possible for something

to thrive in those conditions

I wish that were true.

Haven’t you had enough?

Haven’t you taken enough?

Haven’t you showed up unannounced

and ruined enough weddings

and spoke now,

so your peace didn’t have

to be held forever?

Isn’t it time for me to find the peace

you hold so easily?

You are the mud between my fingers.

You are the formless,



mud that only shows up

when angels cry

from the clouds above.

I always knew that you were the mud.

But it wasn’t until I wiped you

from my hands,

and allowed my eyes

to shift their gaze

upward and away,

from your senseless mess,

that I realized

you will always be my mud.

But I am the flower

that grew far beyond your messy reach…


3 thoughts on “you are eyes squeezed tightly {poetry}

  1. I haven’t read this piece of your poetry yet because I’m still imagining and thinking what you have thought and imagined when you had written “this world needs more of me”. I tried to say something on but couldn’t find a comment box there. I’ll say something but not today because right now I don’t want to lose my focus from where I am.

  2. Like the lotus…rooted in the murky, muddy pond….cleansed as it grows up through the water, longing to feel the suns rays, to open and reveal it’s beauty to the world despite the dark place from which it came.

    I Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart.


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