Holding Pattern

You never know when it happens

that the body keeps the score

a type of holding pattern

that never releases its pull

You’ll be free of it

for some odd number of years,

but a sharp smell

or a quick feeling

or a second of remembrance

causes the façade to crumble —

all that you’ve worked for

in building up walls,

brick by brick,

mortar to mortar,

relinquished to an involuntary response

to compress yourself into the smallest

possible position fathomable,

to minimize yourself

for the sake of being invisible

while your sobs and tears

are inconsolable to whomever

might be present,

whatever label they might hold

means nothing if they’re unable

to see you again afterwards

whatever person they might be

does nothing to help

if they’re not capable of understanding

how these holding patterns work

what it means to experience

a moment long past

with intrusive force

when you’re just trying

to break free and enjoy

the moment with a man

that didn’t hurt you,

that wouldn’t hurt you —

If only these holding patterns

didn’t make you afraid

If only I knew

that my body would hold,

and collapse

when you touched me that way,

when you moved that way,

when you smelled THAT way,

If only I knew

that my body was stuck

in a holding pattern from that night

and other nights that weren’t so different

If only I knew

that I wouldn’t be able to

control my response

when my body was triggered

If only I had known

how to break this holding pattern,

then, maybe I wouldn’t still experience

that physiological

and emotional response

to that kind of touch

and that kind of movement

and those kinds of smells

But that kind of healing —

the healing that happens

to release the pain that’s held

within your bones,

within your muscles,

within your heart,

within your mind

doesn’t happen within years,

it sticks to you,

only becoming looser

with experiences that

are not that kind of touch

are not that kind of movement

are not that kind of smell and

are not the amalgamation of

experiences like that

A holding pattern of that kind

is only released when its met

by experiences of the right kind,

And that pattern, I am still breaking.

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R.D. Boucher

R.D. Boucher

Dami grew up in Hillside, NJ and attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. She is currently working on her PhD in Santa Cruz, CA.