“Trauma-Informed,” a Poem by a Therapist

Mel LK
Prism & Pen
Published in
2 min readFeb 23, 2024

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“Trauma-informed” isn’t
an abstract notion
or cliché buzzword;
a dusty tool rusting
in the back of an old shed unused —
It’s a collection of shiny tools;
carefully crafted,
ever-practiced in praxis.
“Trauma-informed” is tangible acts —
it’s scripting and foreshadowing,
predicting and preparing,
surrendering presumptuous assumptions,
divesting from our pride’s tenets,
depersonalizing maladaptive actions
that‘ve safely protected someone
in the past.
Leave the ego at the door:
It’s not about you.
Maybe their punches
once kept them safe
from being punched
…again.
“Trauma-informed” is creative constructions,
offering agency and autonomy
as options when choices run scarcely;
since control is vital
when vulnerability‘s so vast
and power’s so small
freedom’s in short supply.
It’s reading the unwritten words
and seeing what’s unseen;
beyond brown eyes
into past versions of themselves stuck crying out behind the bars
of their current bodies
Optical windows bellowing
the ghostly vestiges
of what happened to them;
Invisible clues frozen in time,
ice a thousand detectives
could inspect with magnifying glasses
(If only they care enough.)
“Trauma-informed” is knowing
that only warm voices
most communicate “safety” —because even neutral tones
can communicate “threat”
“danger”
“death.”
Ask the animals.
It’s viewing all behavior through
a veiled x-ray lens;
carefully examining, analyzing
internal amygdala’s bearing signs
of endured struggle —
neural synapses preaching sermons
that support is required for survival;
the sole source of resilience.
“Trauma-informed” is not just
work certificates
or soulless checkboxes
or conceited self-pats on the back,
a nebulous concept left to rot on shelves,
shivering in the cold apathy
of capitalism’s superficial transactions
that falsely assume we all
fully control our fates
when the Earth around us is dying.
“Trauma-informed” is still knowing
that healing can happen
and purpose is possible
and that no:
Joy IS NOT fake or impractical
it’s a resistance against the insistence
that we must remain
miserably misunderstood at a distance
because, damn it —
we were built as each other’s assistance.
“Trauma-informed” is just
humility
and curiosity
and compassion
in relationships
that melts those chilled ghosts
by inflaming all we do
thawing until tears fall
Do you care enough, too?

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Mel LK
Prism & Pen

Married lesbian leftist foster mom who loves Jesus. Incoming doctorate student with an LMSW. Book lover.