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 “Don’t”

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.”


Maybe not.


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.

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