written by Wini Hannigan. Wini is an emerging poet from Tipperary with a passion for social justice, mental health and mental growth. She does her best to reflect these themes in her work. Her ambition is to write a trauma informed poetry book. A book of raw and honest poetry. At present, she shares most of her work through open mic nights and local writing projects.

“What broke you?” asked an empathetic face. My lips tighten together as I try to hold on desperately to my truth. Shame fills my lungs and keeps me in a chokehold. The shame that isn’t mine, yet it fills my body like second-hand smoke. It slips into my bloodstream, a slow, determined poison, 
your secret; your shame.

Whispered reassurances threatened me into silence. A love that never felt safe, followed me relentlessly. The words that flowed so easily from your tongue still reside in a dark corner of my mind while you bask in what they call eternal rest.

I look in the mirror, and sometimes, to my horror, I see a glimpse of what you tried to create in me.
A girl you tried to force into womanhood. A woman who never had the chance to be a girl.

Through gritted teeth, I have fought with ferocious conviction to change a narrative centred around victimhood to one of survival. For the most fleeting of moments, I convince myself that the survivor I 
show you is the person I really am.

On crowded streets, I think I spy your cold eyes in a sea of faceless bodies. In a queue, I feel someone 
breathing heavily, standing a little too close to me, and panic rises because it sounds like you. Still, 
with a firm grip around my neck. Ruthlessly invading my mind.

The stories behind the story, the life behind the sentence, the person behind the perpetrator, they
all live inside me. Screams fill the caverns of my mind, but even they do not reach the places
where you so carefully sowed a piece of yourself inside of me. 

We live together now even though you are long gone. Most days, I am winning, managing, living 
despite you. Other days, I feel you inflate and rise within me, demanding attention. There was a time when you and I had not met yet. Now, you are a parasite, and I am your unwilling host until the day I
find a way to rid myself of you.

Image: Going Home by Delphine Arnault. Delphine is an artist from France but based in Ireland since 2003. After studying Art in College in France, Delphine has had exhibitions in Cork, worked as an illustrator for Cork City Council, and has also worked with publishers in Ireland. Delphine is currently planning a solo show exhibiting all her new work in the near future.

CategoriesIssue VIII