I said it all. Slit a line down my throat and pried it open like a dissected frog. I bent over and shook my head upside down to dump all that shit out. I don’t have time for ulcers anymore so I cut a line through my esophagus, past my heart to my stomach. I used the sharpest knife I could find and scraped them out. Word after word corroding the stomach walls. daddy, sick, penis, bedroom, underwear My hands covered in black-tar memories. I scrape them all out. father, protect, shhhhh, coarse hairs, vagina I thrust the knife in deeper until I find the last of them. child, baby, girl, dim light, daddy I washed them all in the sink. I scrubbed, rinsed, and dried. Then set them in the full daylight sun. Some I kept, put them on the highest shelf. Others went one-by-one, slow and deliberate into a grinding disposal. The last of them rest safely between pages of poetry.
First published in Then & Now: Conversations with Old Friends