by Jessica Hulsey


All I remember from the first twelve hours is


and bright white lights.
The fluorescent kinds that burn into your pupils
and make your brain feel like it is bleeding
and gnawing away at your skull.
All I could hear were my own screams
wanting desperately to be


but longing to be saved.

Doctors asking questions but not


to the answers.
White coats
forcing me to disappear into myself,
a place I’m just as frightened to be.
Hollow and wasted,
they showed me my room.


I showered among
white walls,
white floors
and those damn fluorescent lights.
I saw a girl in the mirror
with empty eyes.


Cleaned of old makeup and tears
but not of my own


I am brought through
white hallways
into a
white room
where I am met with a dozen


Eyes devoid in a place
that terrifies me
and invites me into its arms.

Faces I’ll always remember
and never see again.
Names that escape my mind
to this day,
but faces that coaxed


cared for me,
saved me from being dragged


into the darkness of my addiction.

They lived in a
white fortress
that grasped my fears
and made them tangible.
There was a palpable


in me that had to be boiled
out of my core
so I could fill our eyes with


White walls
filled with trepidation
that I must conquer
before I could escape.