Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Shock Therapy by Elizabeth Gade

bread dough and flour on a table

When I smell bread I think of my grandmother, her warm kitchen and flour encrusted hands. The warped knuckles and a wrist that stops time. The water witcher. I think of kindness and safety and cold well water inside a jelly glass. My childhood stories you saved in the bottom of your sewing desk. I think of life before carbs became a very real fear. I think of my appetite, the black hole inside of me. I think I am getting better but it gets so much worse. You discover trauma is bottomless, but I am my grandmother’s blood; have both grabbed the blade begging for death and mercy. Did they tell you to bite down before they zapped you. When our answer to post-partum depression was shock therapy and you kissed the lightning. You can’t tell me I don’t carry that spark inside of me. If trauma is generationally passed down, so is resilience. These are the stories you learn later. You are the tiny flame behind my breastbone. You wrote me a letter every day when I was locked up. I loved you every single day I was trying to survive on the streets. I was numb and ignorant; you had already crossed over. Every bad thing can be momentarily stopped when I close my eyes and see for a split second, the blue house built by my grandfather’s hands, your kitchen, the smell of freshly baked bread in the air. You are still alive, and I am still safe.

Elizabeth Gade is a rural Minnesota bisexual poet and human trafficking survivor. Writing is her radical way to connect with survivors. Her poems have been published in View Magazine, The Elevation Review, 300 Days Of Sun, Other Worldly Women Press, Exist Otherwise & more. Her self-published debut poetry collection “Fawn and Freeze” is available on Amazon. Her second poetry collection “Shame Wrangler” releases 6-12-24.  Elizabeth created LEO Literary Journal, an online journal dedicated to women writers affected by incarceration, addiction and/or domestic violence. She is creator and host of Survived To Write, a survivor led writing circle for human trafficking survivors. Connect on Instagram @ElizabethGadeThePoet and @SurvivedToWrite

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