The Hardest Things By Ry Irene

The Hardest Things

One of the hardest things I have ever tried to do was
Describe what a pillow felt like while I was dissociating
I wrapped my arms around the cushion
Forgot soft
Got lost in the existential of the word “soft”

Forgetting is self-defense
My brain sees this hurt
As an attack from within
A small army waging war on my nerve endings
And shuts down everything except basic functions

I can’t remember my drive to work
What I had for lunch
That I’m a trauma survivor
How I lost my best friend
I can’t remember how it feels to


On these days
I am an anthropomorphic blob of goo
Hurtling through space
And time
And a Dali painting

Not real

Was I assaulted?
Did I know my best friend?
Did I have the childhood I remember?
Concrete becomes abstract
I can’t tell direction
Or time
Or fiction

I can’t remember the last time I washed my hair, so I live in hats
I think I ate today, I think that’s what that dish on the floor, next to my bed is from
I only remember the last time I cleaned my kitchen because it was the last time I had sex
Which the calendar says was four months ago

In these moments, I only know tactile
If I can’t see it, touch it, smell or taste it
I don’t know it’s real

I’m falling for someone 2,100 miles away

If I can’t hear them breathing
Can’t taste the difference between their skin at midnight and three in the afternoon
Can’t smell them on my clothes
How do I know they’re real?

How do I know I am real if I can’t see my hand in theirs?
Can’t feel my body in their arms?
It’s hard to believe that someone has feelings for me

That’s why I cling to every message
I can feel my phone vibrate
Hear the chime
See their face on the screen
When the phone stops ringing
Because it always stops ringing
I can’t stop telling myself it will stop ringing

I will start to believe this is another game my brain is playing

Because that’s easier than believing any of this was real at all

By Ry Irene


Ry Irene is a queer non-binary slam poet that calls Utah home, seven states later. Ze was a member of the 2015 Salt City Slam Team as well as a member of the 2014 and 2015 Westminster College Union Poetry Slam teams. Ry has also competed in Individual World Poetry Slam 2014 and Women of the World Poetry Slam 2016 as a storm poet. Ze has self-published a chapbook entitled “Keep My Out of Your Art, I’ll Keep You Out of Mine”. Ry is a Scorpio, enjoys long walks on the beach, bubble baths, and dismantling the patriarchy and gender norms.

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