I remember the apathy.
The uncoupling of my mind from my body,
looking out the window as the Toyotas and Fords bombinated by in the dark.
The top heavy tour bus rocked gently,
winding along the ribbons of concrete-
jersey walls and interstate
I didn’t think about his hands, his incessant seizing of my pale flesh.
The sensation of touch, of a million microscopic aggravated nerves
In places I didn’t ask for it.
I wasn’t mad at first.
I knew that something had turned off inside of his skull,
something had dimmed.
Because he had told me about what his stepfather did to him.
Under the cover of obscurity, after his mother was asleep, of course.
I thought I was making him happy.
So why should I tell him no?
Even if he groped my skin with my friends around,
late at night on that tour bus.
Even if my morals were abandoned
I remember getting off the bus,
feeling the night air on my face like many times before
But feeling sick and empty;
I walked home that night and kicked off my concert heels,
I didn’t think anything of it
until I walked into class the next morning
Barraged by unwanted glances, the mocking playing of ‘Slow Hands’
And a blushing broken boy, proud of his catch of the day.
I skipped the rest of the day in the practice room-
Until the theater teacher kicked me out.
Back then, I had a problem with disassociating.
With blame, with reality and trust.
I gave this boy a piece of me that I won’t get back,
a fractal of a naive girl,
The child who assumed that the correct response to assault equated to:
‘If it makes him happy.’
Now I write this poem as a catharsis.
This is me pulling the plug
And accepting the constant kinesis of my indecisive psyche
I get a text from him, the same boy,
Trying to pry his way back into my life and under my clothing
The poor kid doesn’t seem to realize
that he’s texting a different woman,
A woman who knows her own worth better than any man will.
One who resigned from her occupation of saying yes,
one who won’t let someone else’s brokenness hurt her back.
I see his name and block the contact.
Then, I go back to writing this poem.