The trauma of this is going to find
its way into every part of your life.
Crooked fingers hooked in joints,
primal blood seeping across
hardwood floors, feverish night screams.
The trauma of this cannot be
consolidated into one thing.
It is multitudes, rippling through
everything you thought you knew.
You will be afraid and it will
be the ending of you.
You’re learning that not everything
is simple and straightforward, that
sometimes a maze is the only way
to get where you’re going, and yes,
it’s overwhelming and you never
drink enough water and you will always
be tired, but there is no other way
through this. The birds are singing
death songs and the moon is hellbent
on murder, but sometimes a maze
is the only way to get where you’re going.
Don’t worry, circus girl. This is
only the beginning.
By Ailey O’Toole
Ailey O’Toole is a queer poet and bartender who writes about empathy, feminism, and pain. She hopes everyone who reads her poems finds a piece of themselves in them and feels a little less alone. Her work has previously appeared in The Odyssey, The Broke Bohemian, After the Pause, and is forthcoming from the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. You can follow her adventures at @ms_ocoole.