The Psychiatrist Said I Would Outgrow My Violences

Topaz Winters

    but my violences only grew with me. At first

it was small brutalities: I killed time,

    the lights, the split ends of my hair which

were dead anyway, the shape of August in

    my bed, so September began a few days too early.

Then I woke tall enough to kill the spider

    on my bedroom ceiling, who had built a web

of gauze & lived for months in peace. It was good

    to ruin something that couldn’t ruin me back.

After, I studied the dark flesh on my huge fingers.

    Didn’t wash my hands for days. One morning

I woke up taller than my hometown, & that

    murder was an unhinging, teeth sunk in the throat

of the dream I’d nursed since childhood.

    I grew larger still. I tore down walls & then

I tore down their remains. I became obsessed

    with proving the medicine wrong, which

the psychiatrist called a worrying symptom.

    I grew too large for normal conversation.

My friends asked how’s the weather up there

    & instead of answering I repeated my own name

& the ways it had failed to save me. The more

    I destroyed the less I hurt. The bathroom tile

rang with red & my spit stained the sun.

    The psychiatrist said to monitor my symptoms

& the insurance man said we can’t cover this

    medication anymore, here are some alternatives.

I didn’t want alternatives. I wanted more to kill.

    Instead I squeezed back into bed, bit down

on the pills I had left, let the bitter on my

    tongue lull me back to sleep. I slept through

the withdrawal pangs & when I woke up I was

    a child & my hometown was whole again.

I knew exactly who I was & where I had been,

    & all my friends looked on concerned as I

collected the teeth I had shed & fit them back

    in my mouth. My violences towered over me

& eventually they left, having outgrown me,

    in search of something more interesting

to take apart. My friends said have you seen

    the news, have you seen the world suddenly

unspooling around us. The psychiatrist said

    you grew up too fast. You need to relearn how

to be a child. Take this workbook & I’ll see you

    in two weeks. I dug a grave for the dead spider.

I stubbed my toe & apologised to my toe.

    I scrubbed the bathroom grout with bleach,

which the workbook called going out to play.

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