Her dreams stopped
breathing before she
could even write her
name. She walks to school
every day with her ears
ringing and her heart
pounding in her hands,
her spiderman bookbag
bouncing against her back with
every step she takes,
pushing her forward.
She sits clenching
every muscle in her body,
legs shaking
beneath her desk. Her teachers say
she’s quiet and shy
but they don’t see her
gripping her heart to keep it from
falling.
They don’t see her brain
picking itself apart
trying to find a reason
why.
The bell rings and she walks home and
sits on her swing set
alone, an effort to catch
her breath before becoming
her mother’s therapist and a
shield
against her father’s fists.

 

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