A Very Good Shusher

Then I read
And it hit me harder
Right in the gut
Right where I live
where I am
in this place where

I’m just supposed to shush
Be quiet.
Stop making other people
uncomfortable

Let it die
Let it pass on
from their minds
if not from my own

Let it hide
from eyes that should see
from the next one
and the next one
and the one after that
after that
after me
after her
after them

Let it skulk
in shadows
behind toothy smiles
behind shiny eyes
behind charming guile
behind clever lies

I’m supposed to shush
Be quiet.
Let them forget
Let them be
comfortable

Comfortable
next to him
next to the hands
that flailed in my face
the eyes that
pinned me to the sofa
the feet that
Fee Fi Fo Fummed
shook my house
shook the earth
shook my soul
shook me
to my core

Doors slamming
plates flying
food everywhere
Frenzy of cleaning
hiding messes
hiding tears

I’m supposed to shush
Be quiet

Which shouldn’t be a problem
not really
I learned to be
very good shusher
To appear calm
when I wanted to run
to appear still
when every molecule
of self-preservation
of self care
was dancing
skittering
like water on grease
in a skillet
turned up on high
when my muscles
my tendons
my very bones
wanted to jump
straight through my skin
to be quiet.
Quiet in spite of
the screams blazing
hairs raising
eyes glazing
with fear
with rage
with fucking silence.

I learned how to be
what you want

A very good shusher

Then
it leaked out
a drip here
a drop there
until the hole
in the dam
of the fucking
wall of shush
was too big
edges too sharp
to be contained
behind your fucking
comfort

I found out
piece by hard-earned piece
that being
good at something
doesn’t make it
right
healthy
or even okay

And it wasn’t
not for me
not for her
not for all the
thems that come after

I am good
at other things
like shouting
getting ALL
up in your grill
with truth
hard
unfuckingcomfortable
TRUTH

Can’t she just
shush
already?

She can.
She’s a very good
shusher

But she won’t
not anymore

FUCK

your comfort

I won’t be
quiet
to make it easier
for you to
straddle ethical lines

To ride those fences

I won’t shush
ever
EVER
again.

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