It consumes you
Engulfs your mind
Your mind becomes captive
Prisoner to the demon clenching to your thoughts
And you know that they know
And you know that they can tell
But shh, don’t talk about it.

You tell them, you try to explain
And soon, they’re picking at your pieces,
cast aside as damaged goods on a clearance rack
This button, that lever,
they say it’s so simple.

Smile, they say
And you try to tell them,
that your face might be stuck in a perpetual state of numb
Smile, is a foreign word,
whose syllables you’ve forgotten how to pronounce.
Get up and live, they say
As if you haven’t yet explained that….you can’t.
That you can’t.
That breaths feel like boulders on your chest,
steps like mountains to climb.
So you say these things,
but you know that they know
And you know that they can tell
But shh, don’t talk about it.

After all, what would you think?

After all, what would you think?
Your uncle, and your aunt’s brother third cousin,
and the random aunty in the masjid.
Your forth cousin twice removed is surely important.
Their opinions clearly matter more than the importance of your ability to speak openly.

So day in, and day out
You wear your mask
You remind yourself, one step, another step, one step.
All the while feeling like they are dragging along.

Because you are flesh
Wound after wound
Plunged deep, far
You are wound
Numb to the pain of daily struggle
Because really, you know that they know
And you know that they can tell
But shh, you must never speak about it.

By Inayah Lakhani

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