That’s the Sound

The stages of giving birth for the first time and
those of chronic PTSD seem to have
the same four elements

Persistent fear response or
realizing you might have to push and know you cannot
and so you hold it and shake

Hyperarousal or
everything you see and hear from the midwife
makes you want to waddle away or scratch her useless face off

Dissociation or
you give up and beg for sleep
their ultimatums sound like stoned angels in acting class

Disrupted attachment process or
we are two chained monkeys
staring at ends and beginnings with nowhere to go but out

Then there is a rock at last to beat to beat to beat the iron down
The googley-eyed new doctor came in with a vacuum
to make empty shriek better than full

We will hobble together like a chain gang
now that the window is empty again
and only Sam Cooke knows the sound of our walk


Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev
Age 35
Portland, Oregon, United States of America

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