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Nov 2018
Sometimes I still get like that
think I might turn eight, wake up
screaming into the night-
it's too real, I'm terrified of my own insides.
Sometimes I can't remember
if it was a dream,
because since then panic has felt
like choking on water
that tastes like the world is
too real, tastes like not coping
tastes like knocks on the door
telling you
grow up.
This time you can't sink beneath
navy blue carpets so you
see a swimming pool, think
hey, maybe I can jump in to cool my sadness down.

I was the child they taught to swim
when you left, thinking
that maybe that if I knew not to
drown then making eye contact
wouldn't feel like making myself
smaller to fit into tighter spaces,
wouldn't taste like acid into places
where only oxygen fits.

Sometimes I still get like that
time flips itself over, scraping
the pool tiles with blunt fingers-
how old was I the first time you asked me what I ate
today, am I okay,
am I okay, am I okay?
Sometimes the dream reacurres,
though now living tastes like
trying to swallow everything above
the chlorine surface, and
I can't remember the last time
I was terrified of
my insides.

I'm not screaming at night any more,
though this time no one arrives to pull me back
to the places
where I can
I'm comfortably numb until I realise
I'm eight, sadness is cold and
I can't swim.
Written by
Jodie-Elaine  22/F
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