The Shower (a poem).

Yesterday, after sitting on the sofa and just sobbing (silently, the sponsored silence is still being respected) whilst my housemate handed me tissues, I got a shower. I often take a shower when I’m distressed. It helps to re-ground me and feel ‘clean’ again somehow. Whenever I’m deeply upset, the feeling of being dirty trash seen as nothing more than a ‘pleasure object’ comes back, and I have to scrub my skin until I feel human again. So here’s a poem about the healing effects of crying in the shower, past and present (because so many people look mildly bewildered when I tell them shower’s help me…)

I’m so small; the stool helps me in,
I climb stiffly into the bath,
Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves
Silently, silently, my body cries.

I have my special duck, my friend,
On tiptoe I can reach the switch ,
Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves,
Silently, silently, my body cries.

My tiny body, my helpless body,
Stained with dry or sticking blood,
My thighs patterned and stained from rape,
My tummy clenching, heaving…
I think: Throw up, you bad girl, and be clean again…
Throw up and you’ll make it alright…

Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves,
Silently, silently, my body cries.

The hot water holds my trembles,
Soothes my shaking tiny soul
I watch in silence as the blood pours down,
Dances around my feet, another part of me
Washed away, forgotten down a plug…
I sniffle, and the shower cries too…
Throw up, you bad girl, and be clean again…
Throw up and you’ll make it alright…

So I do.

Years pass, the shower never fails,
Always it cries with me, always it takes my blood.

Push, push push…I plead with myself,
With my body, too young,
Poor baby, gone baby, ripped from me too soon
Or worse, on time, and you screamed.
And I screamed;
We both screamed.
Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves,
Loudly, loudly, my body cries…

After, I howl, howl to the shower,
My knees won’t carry me anymore…
They’re too weak from the birth,
Too tired from the pain,
Too broken from the grief,
They’re dead, like my heart. Will I breathe again?
I howl.
Throw up, you bad girl, and be clean again…
Throw up and it’ll be alright…

Except it isn’t. My baby…

I curl up, water raining,
Heave with sobs, heave with pain,
The ache from the loss, in my body and heart
Oh baby, oh baby…

I sob alone, nobody cares.
Except the shower, faithful shower,
Who soothingly rains hot water,
Never ceasing until I say,
Holding my grief-stricken body…
Holding my empty shell…

Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves
Loudly, loudly my body cries…

The dirt, the filth, I tear at my skin,
It crawls, it itches from inside,
I must be clean, must be clean…
Please take this horror away.
Please take this hell away.
Please take this away.
Please take me away…

Shower does, it calms my burning skin,
Washes my vomit away
Calms me to sleep, to oblivion
For a moment, I pretend it’s okay…

Stiffly, stiffly, my body moves
Silently, silently my body cries…

And now?
There will be no more rape, I am free…
No more babies, for my body is too spent;
Scars like mazes in my insides,
Too many to count, the doctors said.
Too many to count…
I should know; more memories of torture than of love.
More memories of pain than of peace.

Please take this horror away,
Please take this hell away.
Please take this away.
Please take me away…

I have so much to live for,
I am grateful for being alive…
But the guilt never fades,
The pain never ceases,
Like a rock in my chest I choke,
Stiffly, stiffly my body moves
Silently, silently my body cries…

I long for death and wish for life,
Dream of ending and yet of beginning,
I sob in pain and cry with joy,
The voice of suicide haunts me,
The voice of love holds me…

With each terrible moment, I sob in the shower;
Hold my face into its warm gentle tears
I sob, and it sobs; we cry together,
It washes my face, empties my head,
Cradles me when I fall, hold my fragile heart
When breathing is too hard,
And thinking is impossible.

My forever-empty body is kissed,
My dirty skin is touched with tears,
Its water caresses my frightened face.

It says: Breathe slow, breathe…
You are clean, you are safe
You are loved and okay
Your babies were loved and still are
The children knew smiles
The rape has all stopped
No more torture and terror
Cry child, cry, and let me cry with you…
As for all that hell, there are never enough tears…
For all that loss, never enough words
So I’ll hold you and cry with you
Cleanse you as always
Never cease to be your consistent friend…
Stiffly, stiffly your body moves,
Silently, silently, we both cry…

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