Swallow the pain

April 25, 2018
By AliciaMarzolf ELITE, Cupertino, California
AliciaMarzolf ELITE, Cupertino, California
149 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Swallow it, swallow the pain
I told my younger sister that
At ten and eight years old, we sat at the kitchen table
Our grandfather yelling so loud at her the walls shook
If she cried, he would become a deeper shade of anger
So I told her, quietly, swallow the pain
Gulp it down like a Benadryl pill
The kind our mother gave us when we were stuffy headed with colds and couldn’t sleep at night
Swallow it

I swallowed my pain too
Thirteen years old, locked in an office on a burgundy couch
The kind with that awful sticky faux leather
Sweat glued you to it in the summer
Tied down by your body
Like I was
As tears welled in my eyes and I tried not to breathe
But I swallowed my pain
Swallowed it so deep, it got stuck in my throat and kept food from going down for almost three years
Until finally I coughed it up,
Regurgitated like a mother bird feeding her newborns in the nest
I threw it as far south as I could
But its residue stuck on my palms like snail trails
No matter how hard I scrubbed it wouldn’t come off

And now I’m out here
Cold and alone
Grinding away, and for what?
For us
That is the only reason I do what I do
For our future
And yes, the pain is out here too
It wells up in my eyes and my mouth
Dusty and damp but also raw and new
But once again I swallow the pain
Choke it down like I do every day
Swallow it, swallow my pain
And do my best to move forward

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