there’s the rub;

TW: rape, secondary victimization/victim-blaming, PTSD, dissociation

do you remember when the nightmares of your childhood
were the only notion you had of the existence of
where you’d stare wide-eyed
(doe a deer a female deer)
into the eyes of your monster while your mouth,
an open grave,
tried to give voice to the singing, stunning terror
resonating through your tiny body
like some deadly surge of energy your fragile self might not survive?
except you found yourself
unable to deter your monster or delay your inevitable demise
your mind screaming for your mother or your god or the morning light
til you opened your eyes and found yourself
bathed damp in your cold sweat and your hot tears
to find,
in a rush of relief,
that there was no monster at all
that you were safe
that the night terrors were just that;
night terrors,
and evil remained but a

of course,
what is adulthood but the incarnation of nightmares?
I should not have been surprised to find that monsters do not disappear when you open your eyes;
instead they stare back at you
with a cavernous smile,
a grinning skull
telling you how they will
“make it hurt”
heavy, brutish paws pinning down your fragile wrists
so that you may scream for your god but he is
and your mother is gone
and nobody loves you
you are alone in the night and in the world and
though you still wish for the morning,
dawn is no longer your saviour
because when the first rays of light slit your body into disconnect,
he does not disappear
you lie beside your monster like
carcass alongside predator
except he threatens your empty shell,
“you better not have gotten any blood on my sheets,
virgins are just asking for it,”
as if he had the right to demand a sterile crime scene
as if the sacrificial lamb asked for its slaughter
as if being too pure was a crime punishable by death
after all, Jesus himself
was careful to leave no trace of his
on the altar.
you are the Chosen One
“you should be grateful”
you must be taken apart
but leave nothing behind
you must die
then get up and walk

I suppose it’s not too much to ask;
when I rose again I knew nothing so much as I was
blank eyes void of meaning
of emotion and understanding
no tears to mark the completion of my nightmare
–oh, it wasn’t over!
I’m sure you have experienced waking from a dream only to find yourself in
and another
and another
because what difference did it make if I walked out on my monster
“hey, let’s be fuck buddies!”
he laughed
you call that an escape?
an escape,
to stumble out past the monster’s jeering roommate
in last night’s neon pink clothes
face blackened and smeared with old makeup like
bloodied battered bruises
and bloodied battered bruises aside,
heels that pinched and screamed of
and let in all the rain
while I wandered through a cold, unfamiliar country
–I’d only been here three weeks, let’s call it a wasteland
–so numb I could not distinguish
the cold and the wet of
‘Vancouver weather’
from the cold and the wet of
the shame and the loathing that seeped into the corners of my heart
until the foundations were
rotten and unstable and collapsable
not fit for use
but what’s in a heart anyway?
I learnt to throw it out.

I would like to tell you
that ‘Sauder kid, handsome, richer than you, twenty two’
was not comparable to
‘ugly beast with fangs and claws,
horns and hoof and tongue split in half’
that after navigating the strange campus
for two hours straight
(no Ariadne to my Theseus)
I put dreaming aside and woke unharmed.
but instead I slept on
nightmare neverending
and learnt that unconsciousness is better than death,
and staring at yourself at the bottom of a bottle
is better than
looking into the mirror to gaze at your own cadaver
your sleep is restless but at least you are still breathing
you make your bed in a hospital room but at least it is not
your tomb
they will tell you to wake up,
hush little baby don’t you cry
it was all just a horrible dream but it’s over now and
don’t you know that monsters don’t really exist?

I cannot tell them that a gentleman is
but a patient wolf
and darling,
I’m wide awake now but there is only evil
you may turn on the lights
but my god, my god, why have you forsaken me?
give me back my throbbing heart but you will never
resuscitate the dead
nor get rid of the monster
inside of my