You cling to me like a wet t-shirt,
weighing me down, yet settling in like a second skin. 
I smile, laugh, and let those who just drowned me
in the water of lies and life
think I am unphased. 

I move my chest – up & down-
as if to take a breath,
so that they know I am okay.
But inside I am SCREAMING for
for L I F E,
for P E A C E.

My brain, a fog of
cyclonic forces raging against one another.
Voices saying – 
you are enough,
it’s okay,
you’re not drowning,
just breathe!

Oh! I do not want to be exposed
by the power you have over me.

I run, I hide, I do everything I can to remove
the remnants of your assault.
I struggle to peel off the weight,
leaving my naked skin–
my most authentic self.  

Hoping this time,
changing  the outside circumstances,
will alter my inside–
creating a safe place for my mind to hide,
and my heart to rest.