TRAUMA THEORY, BY AUDREY GIDMAN
Forgive me, I have been this body.
Forgive me, I have seen
so much. This body knows. I think
I am a tree made of hands.
I think I can’t get empty enough to know
what I’m dealing with.
This body is a drought of mast years.
Let me begin again: here
is a girl kneeling. Here
is a girl on her knees. A girl
on her knees in the dark.
She can’t remember—a shadow
that disappears—she can’t remember why
the dark scares her. She tries
for years. Owls outside the window.
Birch & sycamore scratching glass.
Her skin a tired storm. Forgive me,
I have seen this story a thousand times.
Forgive me, how do I write this poem
differently next time?
The owls have gone home. But home
is what? A body a prayer
for a clean break. A body a tired storm.
Forgive me—there is no clean break.
War has a smell: forgive me.
There are owls in this poem
somewhere. A girl on her knees
afraid of windows.
The window is shut. The window is a window
made of hands.
A body kneeling. She knows the storm
by the inside of its name. She forgets
herself. No—forgive me—I forget
what I came here to say.
Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in SWWIM, Wax Nine, The Inflectionist Review, The Shore, Rogue Agent, ang(st), Doubleback Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms, winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize, is forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. Twitter // @audreygidman