Senses

Senses originally written for publication in the
2019 Soundings Literary and Visual Arts Journal.

I wrote Senses as a submission to the 2019 Soundings Literary and Visual Arts Journal. It is an attempt to reveal how abuse overwhelms the senses in a uniquely unwelcome manner. I believe this sensory input is a major factor in the severity of PTSD symptoms. The subconscious easily revisits abuse when exposed to sensory stimulation of situations where adrenaline and fear make every second last a lifetime.

It is important to note that more than the five standard physical senses perceive abuse. We experience abuse with every part (sense) of ourselves. After traumatic events, a specific phrase uttered or scent wafting from the furniture in our surroundings recalls the intense traumatic moments.

For those of us with PTSD, this is called a flashback. I do not recommend them. I do, however, recommend growing from your experiences, both positive and negative.

    

SENSES

I tried to show you —

you wouldn’t see it —

how [my keeper’s] hand displaced air,

skin,

blood and bone.

I even begged you,

through sobs and weeping.

​Then my chin broke a plastic plate​,

​sliced,

bruised and ​pierced.

I sometimes hugged you

​so tight you would gasp.

to make you love me enough to leave

home,

him and fear.

I know you smelled me

when wet filled my pants

as he shoved me on the wall,

nails,

sharp and thin.

I even tasted

blood, running downward

from my nose to my mouth, when he

raged,

threw and missed.

Even through the blood

I still loved you [so].

Glad he hurt me instead of you

again,

again and again.

Kelly Burmeier

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