Seme(n)tery 1920 1440 Marilee Goad

Trigger warning: depictions of sexual abuse


You bury your past between thighs open
up secrets from graves disinterred lives
saying kill the beast which does not look
like you but feels more like you than they
do — that is, human — that is, alive —
that is, hunted. Face ghost-white and
scared — always scared, they taught me
well from birth the joys of a woman’s place
in her bathroom crying tears leaking blood
saying our fault, I’m so sorry I will return
to soil, clay, muck, earth, give you back
your rib I never asked for this life you
say you gifted it, say be thankful, say
count your blessings. I am blessed.
Could have been worse. Lips reddened to
scream help they mistake for hallelujah;
he says you like that? I shake my head
but he doesn’t see, never sees what he
doesn’t want. I don’t want what he
dreams up and still I give it to him.
Yours and love words I weave into
a shroud I say they’re holy, say they
mean it’s okay. He’s okay. I’m okay.
Are you okay? Never better, never
worse — always fighting for one more
breath even as I pray it will just end.

Header photograph © Jason Jackson.

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