You shhhouldn’t talk about that.

Nobody needs to know that happened.

Shhhut your mouth, keep it to yourself. 

Shhhame is a name-calling, blame-bawling, bull-shhhit kind of game.

And I play it so well.

Whose voice is it, 

the one that begs you to lock your tongue behind your teeth, 

berates your heart into a bitter belief that your wounds 

are sorry secrets you should sweep beneath the heap 

of broken pieces until it’s difficult to breathe?

I’ve probably always known that it was actually my own.

Every inch of every bone tucked inside the quiet of a mouth sewn shut by pride

sits alone and side-by-side chewing on words they have to hide behind my smile.

I recognize the feeling of my fingertips gripping my lips 

pressing them together, like pretending 

it was better to swallow the sounds of whatever 

was breaking in an effort to never be the one 

anybody had to be ashamed of.

I’m still a little tender along the roof of my mouth 

I remember how my whole fist climbed down my throat 

so it could wrap around my holed-up heart, 

holding on like stopping it from splitting apart was 

bigger than the bruises and worth every single mark

even if it all happened in absolute silence. 

There is a violence about the way I bullied 

myself into believing I had nothing to say.

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