The Lifetime of Trauma


The first man’s face was scratchy and rough
The man smelled of piss and beer
The baby was at first new and clean
The child quickly smelled of piss and fear

The boy said “Daddy! Daddy! You fix the TV?”
The man said “I’m gonna kill you!”
The woman shouted “No! Don’t say things like that!”
The boy was very frightened and cried
The first man disappeared

The boy chose to leave home
The second man chose to drop him at the edge of town
The boy stood by the road, his thumb ready at his side
The boy was good to go
The woman had the man retrieve the boy
The boy did not need the relief
The man poured the boy into the back seat
The boy planned 

The boy said “You don’t love me!”
The man proved it with the back of his hand

The boy spent his days alone
The woman said “Why can’t I find you at night?”
The boy said “Why can’t you find me in the daytime?”
The young man spent his days alone

The boy moved…again
The woman took him with her when she moved
The second man disappeared, no word
The woman felt abandoned 
The boy felt released

The boy started over…again
The woman didn’t know it hurt
The woman had her own hurt
The boy spent more time alone
The man was still disappeared, mostly
The boy acquired a little sister
The sister developed her own hurt
The boy already had a little brother
The brother developed his own hurt
The boy didn’t understand why these people joined him
The shape of the family was complete
The shapeless hurt was never complete

The young man spent his days alone
The woman said “Why can’t I find you?”
The boy said “Why do you pretend to search?”
The young man spent his days alone
The young man had a hole where the first man had been
The young man had no hole where the second man had been

The young man spent his life accumulating holes
The holes were each deeper than the size of his body
The young man became the man
The man wondered at the six foot hole in the five foot body

The man became the old man as time went on
The old man had pieces removed every year
The old man had new holes installed when he didn’t expect them
The old man whistled in the wind
The old man died…he found the pieces waiting
The boy became whole again

Buddy Matt Coughlin
May 10, 2021


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