April 21, 2018


Content Warning: This poem contains references to sexual assault.

He seemed surprised to see me

I had told him I had to go meet a friend

Yet he saw me there on the street

He was headed out

Excited about the night ahead

I had no idea where I was going

I just needed to get away

I kept walking and walking

The April air filling my lungs

The rise and fall of my chest reminding me I was alive

But I felt so foreign in my skin

I could still feel the places where he touched me

The spots where his fingers grabbed me seemed burned into my being

I kept walking and walking

I told myself I was okay

The pit in my stomach was hunger, not despair

It was late but not late enough

I sat alone

Staring down, saying nothing

Feeling everything, replaying everything

How the hallway looked different leaving than it did coming

How I knew things had happened on that floor

How I knew things had happened on that bed

I kept walking and walking

I took my body somewhere it always felt safe

But even my designated refuge couldn’t protect me from my mind

I said no

It worked until it didn’t

I said no

He listened until he didn’t

Was it my fault?

I couldn’t cry, the tears wouldn’t come

I wanted to believe nothing happened

Do you want me to kill him?

I wanted to forget anything had ever happened

But my skin kept crawling

I was wearing my favorite outfit

But I couldn’t help but feel ugly

And maybe I asked for it

And maybe I knew better

But I said no

And it didn’t matter

The next day I had act like nothing happened

The performance I put on was worthy of applause

But there he was in the audience

He found me after I took my bows

And congratulated me on a job well done

I looked him in the eyes and thanked him

I could tell he thought I was grateful for more than his praise

Not even my father could save me

I told him nothing was wrong

And I kept walking and walking

While all my friends gathered in fellowship

I turned instead to isolation

The disgust, the shame, the guilt overwhelmed me

What did I expect going to his room at night?

I just wanted to watch a movie

But now I watched the scene of what he did to me over and over

How he got on top of me

How he forced his lips on me

Maybe I wanted it

Maybe I led him on

But I said no

When I told my best friend she started crying

I tried to shrug it off like it was nothing

But my skin was still burning

And soon my eyes were too

She told me it wasn’t my fault

I wanted to believe her

I still want to believe her

But I went back

I think I wanted to reclaim my power

But really I just relinquished more of it

I lost my mind in the process

I lost my self in the uncertainty

They say healing isn’t linear

But all I see are parallels

The many similarities between the things they tell me are not okay

And the things that he did to me

The darkness reminds me of that night

He seemed surprised to see me

But now I think he never saw me at all

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Prose by Robin // Content Warning: This piece contains references to sexual assault.