Blank Pages

By: Supriya Bolla

I wish I had trauma that I could spin into a story, 
a story that would grip your thoughts tighter than leather binding, 
Something I could rip to shreds, over-analyze in the margins, 
sew back together, and send off to the publisher before I tear myself apart.

Because, who am I without a story,  
without paragraphs to explain my personality,
A chapter for the reasons I cry,
A stanza for why I laugh at little things far too long,
And at least a sentence for why I do everything as if I’m about to run out of ink.
My pages . . . are blank

I wish I had trauma that explains why I’m breathless at the sight of a blue M&M, 
Why my mind floods with a cascade of memories,
The way opening Blue Balliett’s books bring back rooms full of laughter, 
Shining blue eyes full of mischief
Why my eyes, are wet when there isn’t a single “Blue One” in my fun size M&Ms on Halloween. 
Handprints from six years ago of kids I called family
remind me that giggles won’t always echo, and scribbled hearts don’t always mean love.
Resuscitating dead conversations is a lot harder than thumbing through paperbacks and sobbing over blue candy.

I want to have trauma to explain
Why when someone says “I love you”,
I say back, “yeah, I know”,
Watch them leave the room . . .
leave my life.
Why I whisper “I love you too” under my breath,
Why I fear that the words will bleed through the paper
the moment they are said too loud, 
the moment I can’t take them back, 
the moment they leave my lips,  
I’m scared, 
  because what if instead of turning the page, it rips?

I think there might . . . have been trauma that explains my urge to slam down chairs, 
Trauma that rattles my teeth,
Two feet, two inches in the air.
The tip   back,
plastic whack,
head     crack.

Motionless brother, hysteric mother, 
And the inky red blood that doesn’t come out of carpet when your eyes are too swollen to watch it fall.
There has to be buried trauma for why in my mind staples don’t live on paper stacks and bulletin boards, 
but make their home on red ridged skulls and paper delicate bones.
I can’t remember much, I think those pages are fading.

And there should be trauma that explains why it comforts me 
to stand on our high-rise apartment’s balcony and look straight down, 
why my subconscious tells me I should step out, 
tells me I can fly, 
That angel’s wings are pillow-soft and I could let go 
and take a ride, 
My empty chapters are feathers in the wind

There’s other people with pages shredded and stained, 
Who are tired of folding away their trauma into 
perfect paper cranes, 
and just want feathered wings to ferry them away 
from the flurry of paper. 

Hands full of paper cuts, 
Pool red ink on their fingertips
And write their own “The End.”

Maybe I have trauma, but I’ve pushed it deep down,
Pages folded and creased into a thousand misshapen 
origami birds, 
Because once I let them loose, I can’t ignore that my 
childhood wasn’t some kid’s book of sunshine and rainbows, 
Instead, a tattered anthology written in blue and red ink.

I wish I didn’t have trauma to claim
I want blank pages.