April 14, 2016
My back is pressed to the floor, phone clutched in my fist / like it’s the truth. / glowing. My mom, she’s / straddling my stomach, one hand pinning / my wrist / to the floor / the other / pincered around a little pink pill, taloning its way / into my mouth. / screaming. / always / screaming. / I tried to flush the first two pills down the toilet, but / she always checks / and I forgot to press the lever all the way, / and that is the tragedy, / and here, together, on this wood floor, scrabbling amidst the dust / the lint / and the brittle silence, / we, / we are becoming the tragedy, / snapped up like mayflies in the honeyrot of this mother-daughter dance, / this wholesome family activity / that neither of us will want to call abuse / when it is all over.
Is this what you want to hear?
Is that too long? Too wordy, laborious, heaving with syllables and / slashmarks? Do you want it shorter? Distilled? How many poems will you read on the night I punched my mother and ran away before you get sick of it? How long will my grief captivate you? How long will I stay relevant before you move on to the next survivor, the next lurid story, the next folk who will offer you vicarious trauma? How can I keep being the cool victim on the block?
Would you rather hear:
- In the end, the abuse was not the tragedy; we
- were, thrashing like spider and firefly with cobweb in throat on
- my bedroom floor, crying, shrieking, as if
- we could wrestle back the dignity, the trust and
- the love that you smothered when you slapped me
- to that cold paneled wood for the first time
- all those years ago.
and let that be the end of it?
See, the great thing about being a poet and a religious trauma survivor is that you have a shitton to write about. The terrible thing is that people get tired of reading about it. Shorter, my poetry professor says, tighten it up, more to the point, more relatable, and you’ve got to write about something else eventually or they’ll get bored. My poems, each of them becomes a little pink pill eventually, and I know how after a while little pink pills all start tasting the same. I want to be a Good Survivor Poet, to package my work so it doesn’t get old, so you won’t get bored, so my grief won’t be so 2 weeks ago. In the interest of this, I have compiled a resume of various horrifying experiences. Bite-sized traumas. Easier to swallow.
Click the link below to read Maxmila’s Trauma Resume (on page 2).
Maxmila Dang is 19, an aspiring Politics and Creativity and Social Transformation major, and an editor-in-chief of MELANINcollective, an online platform for female/trans/non-binary artists of color. Ey’re a fan of poetry, fiction, and cold, hard blasphemy. Get to know em at www.praytomeinstead.tumblr.com.