Unbreak Me

Memories reach up and out of
the dark places
long fingers that
grasp and grab and wrap around
the tendrils of my thoughts
tangling some together
binding others apart
tinting truth the shade of shadows
nagging me, dragging me
down, down, down
until I’m drowning
in mud that sucks at my skin
and I shiver
cold to the bone.

Like the night we played
tether ball in the rain
until we were mud-caked
from hair to toenails.

But that was fun, wasn’t it?
We ate pizza at 10:30 and I said
it was the best night of my life.
I was six, so that was probably true.
Besides, the mud washed away
and I had a towel
and someone to cook me dinner.

But the downing, drowning,
sucking, mucking mud
pulls with all the weight
of leaded memories.
Memories I can’t pick up
and can’t put down.

Like the day he chased us,screaming,
through McDonald’s.
All I wanted was a Happy Meal
but I would have settled
for a happy meal.
His face, the rage, blurry
through tear-filled eyes.
He never hit me, but I felt his
fist in my gut.
He never touched me, but I felt his
hands around my neck,
strangling what might
have once been love,
or a memory of love.
But love’s not what I remember.

I never did get my happy meal,
but who could eat after that.
Some mud is harder to wash away,
even with a towel and someone to cook you dinner.

And the clawing, pawing,
raking, bone-breaking fingers
wake me with their silent screams
bellowed from an empty grave.
And I sink in the soul-sucking
mire that hollows out my chest
and steals my breath.

Like the times
I made choices
I couldn’t unmake.
And I break.

There is no one to cook me dinner.

The sludge fills me in.
I lie like a corpse and watch
as the hollow places fill.
Then the corners and cracked edges.
But I am still.

Then something moves me,
presses and measures me.

Me: this sludge, this muck,
this mire and mud,
that I’ve become…
has become clay.
Unseen fingers dig and prod
to mold and smooth,
to shape me
and remake me.

And when, again,
I break,
they will
unbreak me.

© Nichole Q. Perreault

Written for Writing 201 Poetry; Fingers, Prose Poetry, Assonance

7 thoughts on “Unbreak Me

    • Thanks for reading and for the feedback. I can’t say that I’m “glad” you can identify with the poem, but I suppose that I’m glad the feelings were communicated and that you can know that there is someone else out there who identifies with you!

  1. Wow from me too! I would list the phrases that I particularly like, but there are too many. The rhythm is spot on and the tone and general wordsmithery drag your reader down with you. I feel as if I need a shower and a good cry!
    Thank you for sharing

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