Trigger Warning, a poem by Olivia Todd at

Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning

written by: Olivia Todd



I didn’t pull the trigger.
I pulled out the truth
from the well of my
eleven-year-old stomach.

It plunges
than Alice’s
into Wonderland.
And at the bottom,
you do not greet grinning cats
or tardy undiagnosed anxiety
Oh no.

You only get the Mad Hatter.

The smile that could cut you to your bones.
Forgotten cups, stiff with cold tea.
Bulging pockets bursting with stolen jam tarts.
A merry-go-round of parrot questions.
Parrot questions, parrot questions
that never learnt to shut their beaks.

Please ask something normal.
Please answer normal.
Bananarama is not a pet.
I don’t get your 80s pop band.
I was born to you in the late 90s.
Can we all try a little harder
to understand?

Arrest me
with my Dalmatian-headed skipping rope.
You’re a prisoner to your brain,
and I’m the witness to your antics.
If this is how we play now,
let my wrists bleed.
Let crimson stains show the world,
I got him to interact with me!
I’m no longer on the receiving end
of your Dodgem car belly.

But those involved know,
there is no end to this ride.
So you sit, and smile, and pretend
that everything is normal.
Everything makes sense.

It is only when you try to claw
your way, inch by slippery inch,
the slimy memory moss
to society,
that you remember,
how long
you kept him
buried there.



My dad passed away when I was eleven from a heart attack. Those who have experienced witnessing a family member suffer from Alzheimer’s and all its variants have my greatest empathy. Writing for me has always been a cathartic release to try and make sense of all the turmoil it wreaks.

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