Three Poems

by Peter Mason

When I Say Water, I Mean

The re-experiencing symptom criteria of PTSD include intrusive memories of the traumatic event, and the avoidance symptom criteria include the inability to recall important aspects of the trauma.

-Samuelson, Kristin W. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Declarative Memory Functioning: A Review.” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 13.3 (2011): 346–351.

the men I tried to love were always
so delicate in the way they held me
between their hips         as if a soft
rabbit’s back cradled in the damp
of their thighs         so often I am afraid
I don’t dream because the water
will become me         will drown me in what

my therapist says I don’t remember it
right         if anything her
a violet coiling thing that stuffs the throat
tentacled bloom becoming what was
years         my body says look how she churns
in your mouth         here are all of your teeth
wet and shining in your palm