Keith J. Castillo



there’s this kid,


sometimes he screams in the middle of the night



fuck it i can’t make this poetic

fuck it i’m not going to try anymore


so there’s this kid who’s afraid of his father,

of the threatening figure he imposes,

of the way his father never raises his voice but looks a second away

from breaking something


there’s this kid,

gentle, quiet, nine years old

a nice kid by all accounts

if you disregard the PTSD from his father

he could almost pass for normal

instead his classmates trigger meltdowns and he

isn’t sure what to do anymore


he just wants to be alright

he just wants to be normal

he wants-


fuck it

i’m gonna be honest with you here


trauma isn’t something that just disappears

it sticks like honey, like tar trapped on your body

it sinks into your veins and makes a home

out of your bones, settles in like bees in a hive

thousands of acres of honeycomb trapped in your body

you buzz like a bumble bee

a survivor looking for salvation

you’ll find in it honey, the smell of your grandmothers perfume

the weight of your purse in your hand and

in your mothers anger over what

has been done to you


you find it in science, in math, in the way set rules govern numbers and the universe

but there isn’t a formula, no scientific law that can explain what your father did to you

you try to make one anyway.

shitty kid + stressed parent = abuse

or shitty kid + parent = abuse



no, that’s enough, there isn’t a formula for the reasons he chose to hit you,

it was senseless, an act of violence made reality,

this isn’t a dream, you can’t wake up

it doesn’t make sense

violence never does




there’s this kid

he’s 18 now

barely illegal

and almost ten years later

he thinks he’s going to be okay


healing is an art form, made of knives and splinters

there are no roses here, we forgot them at the florist

walk on that tight rope, jump through fire

you’ll be stronger for it


Keith J. Castillo is a nonbinary autistic poet currently living in Alberta, Canada. He prefers he/his pronouns and is never without a book. You can find him on twitter at @nonbinarybird.


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