watch your words

My boss pulled me to one side
to talk about some things
she had overheard.
She wanted me to know that
she was there if I needed to talk
about anything;
work or otherwise.
She tells me that
I need to be careful
who I say things in front of
because she’s concerned
I might upset people
and she doesn’t want me to get in trouble.
I try and bite my tongue
but every morning when my colleagues ask
“how are you today, Less?”
my mouth fills with acid
and I want to claw my throat out
because I don’t know how to answer
while staying in my authority
to not tell anyone what’s going on.


When I lay down at night,
sometimes I can still feel
hands on my body –
not the gentle touch of a lover
but the harsh pain of

In the days and weeks
and months after
first raped me
I boiled myself
and scrubbed myself raw
in baths and showers
until my skin was red and blistering
to try and wash away the feeling.

I wanted to peel every last inch
of flesh off my bones,
so everything could grow back fresh
and I could pretend
to have a body that
had never laid hands on.

I tried to replace
the memories of touch
with other peoples’ hands
but it never helped
because after so long,
they all just blur into one
and they all start to look like

I hate that
still have
such power over me.
I will make myself anew,
and try my best
to leave
with this shell.

– for my abuser, you sack of shit

the diagnosis

The worst feeling I have ever known
was experienced in the doctor’s office.
Four words and
my heart turned to lead,
ripped itself from my chest
and sank to the darkest depths of the ocean.

Some fragments still remain.
Shards stuck in my ribs and
dust in my lungs
making it impossible to breathe
and weighing me down.

“I’m sorry…
… it’s cancer.”

Four words and
my world has lost all colour and warmth.

– for those I owe the truth to