Stitches over My Mouth

I wasn’t yet five when it happened,
his touch lingers in my mind,
leaving scars behind, invisible to the naked eye,
I don’t say what he did to me, when asked,
I can’t,
there are stitches are over my mouth,

I ignore the pain his touch has left behind,
as it festers inside me,
But pain never whispers,
It only yells;

the pain yelled so loud I couldn’t ignore it,
I wrote it off as a bad dream,
Even the scariest of dreams can be forgotten,
His sadistic touch cannot,

I enter the world of high school,
I’m afraid,
I already know I’m different from my peers,

Seventeen hits me like a bullet,
Piercing me with memories of the truth,
Him leering at my body as he watched me undress,
The memory of him on top of me,
It all haunts me,
like monsters under my bed,
The shame builds in my mind, as if I did something wrong;

At eighteen,
my friends spout ignorant words,
“only women can be abused” never men.

I know they’re wrong,
those words never leave my mouth,
the Stitches over my mouth keep my lips shut,
people say this horrid thing could never happen to men,
yet I’m proof they’re wrong.

I see on television there’s a woman,
She’s been through my pain.

I feel for her I know her pain,
nothing will allow her to forget it,
women insist I cannot understand,
I do understand, even if I wish I didn’t.

My Twentieth year is like the calm before the storm,
Twenty-one the hammer falls,
Confessions pour out of me,
like blood from a knife wound,
I don’t care who hears my words, my sobs, my pain,
Only who’s there to catch them.

Writer: Ethan Dougan is the author of two poems, “A Person and “Stitches Over My Mouth.” These two poems are about his life and who he is as a person. His inspiration for “A Person” was simply him just venting his frustrations with today’s modern society and the overwhelming pressure of conformity, while “Stitches Over My Mouth” was a traumatic event in his life that he thought he could heal and overcome by sharing it.

Artist: Rebecca Mora is a self-taught artist who loves to take inspiration from the people and world around her.