Fluent in Trauma

by Cara Losier Chanoine

My fluency in trauma
has left me with the tendency
to think in worst-case scenarios.
I live in a constant state of flex,
my mind a closed hand
with fingernail punctures on its palm.

When the pandemic hit the United States,
I expected my own panic,
but it turned out
that I’d been training
for this.
There is a part of me
that always expects something bad
to be coming.
There is a part of me
that will always be ready
when it arrives.

Cara Losier Chanoine is a New Hampshire writer and English professor. A four-time competitor at the National Poetry Slam, she is the author of the poetry collections How a Bullet Behaves and Bowetry: Found Poems from David Bowie Lyrics (Scars Publications 2013 and 2016). She likes horror movies, rollerskating, and woodland creatures. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.