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MUSED Literary Magazine.

Oh, Shame!

Elisa L Everts

Oh shame, how might I escape your tyranny?
100 times a day I take deep gasping breaths,
each time remembering another shameful moment
from my history, deep stains upon my soul.
You are a pathology. I don’t know how to wash you out.
No matter how much I pour or how long I soak you,
there seems no bleach strong enough to
obliterate you from my consciousness, or
scrub you from my painfully “good” memory.
You run these images through my mind on a
continuous loop, both awake and asleep,
a kind of ever-present kryptonite
that keeps me smothered in self-loathing,
Afraid to show myself in the light, afraid to live.

Something I said, something I did, something
someone did to me which I failed to prevent,
images shown to me that I could not unsee.
Wasn’t I born with the same tabula rasa as every
other infant born into humanity?
Or was Calvin right, and I am simply rotten to my very
core, my mere essence an offense in the sight
of God? Every poor decision, every failure,
every form of nakedness, simply confirmation
of my essential filth?

If I was born with a tabula rasa, others
nevertheless wrote vile things upon my slate
that seem indelible. No matter how vigorously
I try to erase them, stubborn stains persist.
Some of the images endure as though carved
into stone and I cannot stand to be confronted
by the ghastly images so deeply engraved
on the walls of the corridors of my mind.
They keep flashing and I keep flinching.
No one knows how hard I work to
keep them hidden inside. No one knows
how ashamed I am of my shame.