IT'S DARK IN HERE
by MADILYN AMICO
I am trapped within a place
that has no intentions of releasing
me— there are no walls, no exits:
a place I do not know, but my mother and
father are in here and I’ve been running
from their silhouettes that remind me of
my own but Mother begins to say, I know
the way out, say this is your father’s fault,
I say it’s all his she turned out this way, an
unfit mother and suddenly the place I’m in
grows darker, I hear my father’s voice: No I
know the way out, say your mother is a lying
piece of shit. My skin flashes with heat when
the pain of the past
tugs at my ears—
I remember when you crushed
pills on my desk and snorted
them like air— Oh, how the past
slowly creeps in, my lifetime of thinking
you loved drugs more than me, how hard
I tried to love you so that your souls
stayed with me—
Mother’s words begin to choke me,
Father breathes my name and says,
I found the light. Say you love us
again. I say, my love for you has never
died, but lost time is the noose
that killed me—
Something happens when I say
this truth, my body recoils—
All at once I feel all the times
you betrayed me; my young
cheek pressed to the stained
glass windows as I begged
God to bring you home safe to me.
I even remember how your bar shaped pills sparkled when crushed between the backs of my books; how Father’s face looked when his eyes rolled back, his nostrils soaked in white.
Do you remember the time you thought I was Mother? I gasped for air, your hands wrapped around my neck? I ask Father as the darkness
reminds me I am still trapped in the pain of the locked past.
Say you remember, Father; say you wish you could take it all back; say, you never stopped loving me even after ten years apart.
Light seems to break when I say this— I ache for it to take me out of the place that mocks my trauma.
Trauma is one thing that remains forever, but I am the light, the sudden discovery of my thoughts.
SEA, SWALLOW ME
by MADILYN AMICO
Her pointer finger
pushed the sand
deep down as she
wrote Goodbye Mother
in large curly letters,
eyes at the swirling
ocean and its sky—
A pink and orange sun,
like a hole began
to fade as clouds
down, down until
they reached the
her eyes wandered
to bait popping off
crystal clear surfaces.
As night settled in,
her eyes got lost
and her brain
filled with saltwater
because the beach
had always been
a place one goes
to forget, but
a farewell for
a mother who
still hadn’t died
yet is a lot like
it swallows you whole.
This collection moves in the same ways that I have moved through trauma. It is an attempt to understand how trauma often manifests in new ways. It can be that of constantly feeling like something is missing; that the dissection of you might feel like the only way to show the world what’s really inside you. But it can also be a beautiful thing; it’s a discovery of self and deciding when it feels right to take ownership of what has happened to you. It’s the navigation between guilt and acceptance; it’s the navigation between pain and healing. This collection is me at my core, constantly finding new ways to make meanings out of memories— turning those into feelings.