Scars of Abuse and Complex PTSD



I couldn’t say

what was wrong.

When the pain became too much

and I became numb,


I cut my flesh

to make the blood come.


It was a scream.


When I writhed

in pain

without sound,


The blood spoke for me.

The only witness.


I cloaked the gashes,

Hid the lines of hate and despair,

ashamed to be seen in them.


I wanted someone to read between them,

those lines I made

upon the tender places of my skin.


I found relief there.

There was no witness.



You thought you must be

what was wrong

A creature made in error

For who would molest or abandon

a child who is worthy of love?


The thought

burrowed deep into you


Your shallow slashes

    Went deeper than flesh

        The only voices

            Without sound


We are their ancient echoes

We remember the pain for you

We offer hope

Can you see?

Of living the life you intended


We, the scars, are slices through time

Inception to pain to healing


The wizened ghosts of wrongs



can point the way home.


© Lori A. Shupp  2022

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