Horror Writers Association

MHI: MY HANDS ARE NOT MY OWN (A Poem of Dissociation) by Varian Ross


Trigger Warning: This piece addresses mental health

The HWA is pleased to launch its Mental Health Initiative, a coordinated roll-out of events, resources, and activities intended to promote positive mental health, foster the concept of hope, and challenge the stigma of mental illness in the horror genre. The initiative, run by the organization’s Wellness Committee, launches in June, and includes the following blog posts from Of Horror and Hope, a downloadable anthology of poems, flash fiction, and personal reflections on mental health by HWA members.


(A Poem of Dissociation)
Varian Ross

My hands move over the guitar,
yes I have years of practice, but these
hands are not mine. Scales pour from my
arching fingers, scales I don’t know.
Now I wait to see if his teacher notices,
dread infuses me. I’m not the one he’s teaching.
Sharing a body is difficult, but it was the only
avenue, the only escape from whatever shattered us.
Red words our host types, fingers flying. Their words
echo as they pour their feelings on to paper, we watch
now as they slip into a poem, and we are unsure who is
on the other side of this screen, whose fingers are on the keys.
They did not know of us for twenty years; that is how this works
Monster is what the world whispers, violent killer in waiting.
You reading these words, we have found hope in the darkest corners;
once we were told the darkness would hate us, but we’ve seen
whole years of time torn away by the light. Dark words give us
new words to explore, and a candle of hope to light.


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