There is never a warning.
In seconds control is lost
Breath no longer your own
a servant to anxiety
making orders, sending heat and hurt
In minutes images you’ve long erased, names that no longer sting and
three word phrases that have lost all meaning
flood back up from the depths of where they’ve been buried
past your chest and shoulders and lips and eyelashes
And you wring your hands so much
that you have to remind yourself you’ve already
drip drop puddled your way on to the floor
there is nothing left
just look at you
Liquified pity and pills and pathetic
Sometimes all you have left is the tangible
the sponge soaked skin of your cheeks and railroad tracks on wrists to remind you
you are not invincible
when time turns in to scab and scar and sympathy
when your blood boils
there is only one way out
you’ve got to let it out
a river of red drumming life in and out of you
out of you
out of you
you’ve got to get it out of you
this is not a poem about self harm
it is about wishing your soul had a face
so that people would stop fucking asking what you’re always so happy about
it is about not knowing a single person on the planet you haven’t kept secrets from
it is about being ashamed and guilty and not knowing why
or knowing why and being so hyper aware of every single reason why
that people become lake water reflections
you can see all the beautiful ways you will hurt them
like you hurt you
I will drown you
I warned you
I have projected every shade of broken your way
I will drown you
I don’t know how not to
and why is it they never talk about how impatient loneliness can be?
how it doesn’t wait for you to leave a room full of people before it starts clawing at your ankles to
stay! stay and feel nothing around all these people that feel everything
can you taste their powder sugar spirits?
are you breathing in their stability?
does their stench of vivacity make you dizzy?
And why, in a room of wall to wall lake water reflections…am I struggling to recognize even a droplet of myself?
I have been reduced to salt water on the floor of my bedroom
careful you might slip
careful i will drown you
don’t say i didn’t warn you
and all this because they never talked about the kids with powdered sugar smiles.
Why did you write this poem?
I wrote this piece because I needed to. For myself and for the integrity of my art. I wanted to prove that my darkness deserved as much recognition as my light, that it’s all important and valuable and that I am still growing through it all.
Photo: Visual artist: Paula K Volker
About Nasra Adem
Nasra Adem is a 20 year old poet, dancer, singer and actress. She is currently studying musical theatre at Grant MacEwan University and aspires to take her passion for all performance art to New York City in the years to come.