Patient Zero by Nathan Tompkins

Posted: January 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

Editor’s Note, Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

Patient Zero

Sometimes, I wake sweating,
still hearing the pants
convulsing behind me,
the ghost breaths touch
the hair on the back of my neck,

(lie naked, face down)

I fear that I will spread this disease,
to fuck a life, like he fucked mine,

to make another child cry at night
like I did, to make another child hide
like I did, to make another child rage,
like I did, to murder a childhood,

like he did.

(his weight pressed in me)

When the nieces and nephews want to sit
back on my knee as we sit in the easy chair,
watch Disney cartoons dancing on the tv, I’d love to,

but the paranoia of others’ perceptions

yeah, sure, but not too long.

(hot grunts on my skin)

Or my reluctance in changing my daughter’s nappy,
just take it off, wipe the tissue once or twice,
don’t touch her skin with mine, not even by accident,
put a fresh one on, quick now, quick now,

don’t look!

I know I could never do what he did to me,

but I still wake up sweating, hearing you,
petrified that I am infected with his paedo disease,

(dirty, filthy, pervert)

the patient zero.
Nathan Tompkins is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, though his heart will always be in North Idaho. His work has been published in many publications including Poeming Pigeons, NonBinary Review, and Crab Fat Magazine. He is the author of four chapbooks, the most recent of which are A Song of Chaos and Lullabies to a Whiskey Bottle.

  1. 3wheelzone says:

    Very powerful! It is so real that the poet is afraid to touch his daughter lest they think he was changed into a monster by his monster. Sad and real. WOW!


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