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  • Jimmy Broccoli

It Never Really Leaves You

“…and nobody wants to hear about it anyway”, she says


She lifts her drink slowly to her mouth

as the ice cubes angrily clink against one another in her glass -

It is her third – or, perhaps her fourth –

her expression serious, her posture reluctant…

“It never really leaves you”, she says…

and I nod, without speaking

I sit beside her quietly, the air around us heavy –

I reach for her hand – and she takes it within hers…

“I…” she tells me –

and I listen to her recollections as they unfold and explode –

announcing themselves in blistering colors and with trumpets sounding loudly


His wicked smile is free drinks laced with unwanted and unnoticed sedatives…

[the bartender pays the man no mind as he carries the woman out of the pub]

Her limp posture will soon become an emerald dress

…thrown upon a cold and unfamiliar floor

He is a stack of heavy books with heavy binding and with heavy pages –

[with illustrations bold and disturbing]

upon soft pillows –billowy, unblemished, and delicate -

she cannot breathe easily beneath the weight…

Porcelain dinner plates fall forcefully to the ground, against concrete –

The sound, like cymbals crashing together,

assaulting the once untouched air -

sudden and unexpected thunder shattering silence –

A blindfold, a gag in the mouth (so she cannot be heard)

[the television screen then becomes snow –

thoughts, very far away from here]


…the unforgiving sun then rises, dull –

faded yellow and ugly -

and low in the sky –

the sky, itself, a dismal and defeated blue –

it weeps extremely -

the rain heavily falls upon a hesitant and cautious landscape -

The streets flood - as what was previously familiar and comfortable washes away into the sewers below


“miss – are you okay?” – a park ranger asks –

as he addresses the unconscious and naked woman on the rain-soaked park bench –

joggers, dog-walkers, and early-risers look on…

she opens her eyes…and a new day begins…


She is a swan (still strong) with feathers torn out -

reluctantly continuing to drift upon the top of the water -

with skin bruised, bare, and sore

and with head down and untrusting -

The water ripples slightly and she is suddenly terrified…

Trauma echoes loudly when triggers are bountiful and unrelenting


“It never really leaves you”, she says…

We sit on the couch next to each other in silence –

and I know she is right.

[years after-the-fact I still will not share what happened to me]

a solitary finger in front of my lips to an audience unaware –

"shhhh" - not now and not yet…

[I exhale painfully – but slowly and quietly – so she will not notice]

I, then, pick up my drink –

it is my fourth, perhaps it is my fifth…

…the ice cubes clink against one another in my glass, silently

as she and I, together, listen to the rain falling outside the safe and protective window

Photo: Jimmy Broccoli.

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