Even after all this time
I deal badly with it.
My initial reaction is always
Oh, that couldn’t have happened.
Not quite the way it feels it did.
This pain must be false.
Oh, they didn’t realise.
Maybe they didn’t understand
What I meant
When they ignored my “No”
Or even just
“Use a condom.”
Because I am, admittedly, so very soft
It is difficult for me to parse
That someone has deliberately hurt me
And not cared.
I have never screamed.
I have never struggled.
Sometimes I have shut down
And let them do it again
Without me being there.
Sometimes I have smiled
And kissed them goodbye
Stumbling a little as I close the door.
The worst time
(As if there is such a thing as ‘worst’)
I managed to say “I didn’t like that.”
And he said “We don’t have to do it again.”
Did I say “I didn’t want to do that”
And did he say “Oh. That’s kinda rape then, isn’t it.”
And did I say “I wasn’t thinking of it like that.”
Did you say “That was a bit weird.”
And did I not reply?
Were all of these words spoken?
Were they separate people?
Or the same confused conversation
From years ago?
Your brain shields you from these things.
I remember strange, vivid details, like –
His bedframe was blue.
I hung on to it while I lost my mind.
So I don’t remember what we said
Or whether I could see his face
Or how long I stayed
Or what I was wearing
Or what time it was.
When I count them up
I think this has happened
Five times in my life so far.
So it is some kind of miracle
That I still wear my vulnerability
On my sleeve for anyone to see
Bright and proud, like a flower.
Cultivating this softness
Is a strange and dangerous pastime.
But it means that I can say:
Here I am.
Here is the violet core of me
Blooming alone and untouched.
I cannot be uprooted or burned
Or frozen in snow or poisoned.
You might rip away the petals
But I will always blossom again
Twice as beautiful.