Pandora’s Box

A Poem About Childhood Trauma

Photo by Georg Bommeli on Unsplash

This is a poem I wrote about childhood trauma, and the way the brain can lock away the events allowing the survivor to function normally. It is also about the adult recognition of the trauma, and the anxiety surrounding the idea of confronting the past and beginning the healing journey.

My poetry almost always revolves around this theme. Childhood trauma often happens in a preverbal part of the brain, making it very difficult to talk about in literal language.

A tornado.
A whirlwind.
A tsunami.
A gaping hole.
Pulling,
Breaking apart,
Shattering.

It needed to be contained.
So a vessel was crafted.
The infinite powers of the mind fashioned a box.

At first she sat on the box.
Taut and anxious,
Terrified that the lid would fail to hold.
But time passed.
And life beckoned.
So she left the box behind.
It sat in the shadows.
She lived life.
Incomplete.
Pieces missing.
Compromises made.

One day the old cellar door cracked in half.
The floor fell in.
She tumbled into the dusty cobwebs.
Face to face with a mysterious chest.
The box beckoned.
It held a terrifying fascination.
When she tried to crack the lid,
Horror and atrocity soared out.

Piece by piece she contained the flying arrows.
The narrative was being woven.
But the lid remained shut.
When she reached for it,
Trembling,
Her breath would cease.
Her heart would race.
Time would freeze.
Terror was all that existed.

Time and time again,
She touched the box
And recoiled in horror.
Each time she touched it,
It seared her skin.
And the scabs that fell off
Were woven into the tapestry.
The blanket of pain that was beginning to stretch.
Filling the void.

But the box remained.
The horrors it contained too great to release.
Pandora’s box.

She knew the stories.
Once the monsters were set free,
One thing would remain.

Hope.

But who can withstand the opening of the chest?

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Anne Springer

Anne Springer

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I’m a speculative fiction and poetry writer, a curious soul who never grows tired of asking “Why” and “What if?” Look up AuthorAnneSpringer on Facebook!