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In honor of National Poetry Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which are both in April, I have posted a really powerful poem by Tracey Dahl.

Tracey Dahl is the real life Lisa Simpson. She is the Albuquerque Haiku Deathmatch Champion of 2009 and took 2nd place at ABQWOW 2009 and 2010. She coached the 2011 and 2010 Abq Unidos Youth Slam Team, which took third place at International Youth Poetry Slam Brave New Voices. Her work has been published in Pemmican, Cliterature and the first volume of Adobe Walls Anthology. She is a creative writing student in Albuquerque and is working on her first manuscript.

Trigger Warning: If you have your own history of sexual abuse or rape, this poem may be overwhelming for you to read. Please don’t feel like you have to power-through if you think you might be triggered by it to remember your own abuse and be negatively affected.

Without further ado, please enjoy!

Nameless

I don’t remember his name.
I have never been good with names.

But I remember that day,
hot and dark even in sunlight.
I was the little blonde one,
uncomfortable in dresses and tights.

We were hauled like eggs,
crated from school to daycare,
jostled and tired of childhood.
My dress glistened green against
my white tights and opal skin.

I was to be married among
the swing sets, at rush-hour dusk.
I had two twin grooms.
Identical, they shared the same
young crush.
They are victims as much as I.
My poor gentle boys, in love
with my dresses.

I don’t remember his name.
But I remember my arms,
wishbone-thin. Bent and
bruised like bamboo, behind me.
He held my wrists around
a wooden column, my
shoulders pinched backward
in forced prayer.
My bridegrooms were held
elsewhere. This boy and his friends
lured us, baited
our child-wedding processional
and stole me before I knew
to claim myself.

I remember his face, twisted
and dark-eyed. His hands
could cut bone, blade fingers
pried my thighs wide.
Too young to know this.
I don’t remember his name.
His wide-eye grope of tights,
struggle-hum choked out of my
throat. The sun failed me, then.
The shadow of his pupils was overwhelming.
My tights betrayed me, slipped
minnow quick to my knees.
I remember his fingers, invading
my big girl panties, like bullets
consuming flesh.

I don’t remember his name.

I remember that day.
I never saw my betrothed twins again.
My parents pulled me from the day care.
Rescued me from my memories
and I have never been good with names.

-Tracey Dahl

To be connected to a Rape Crisis Center in your area call the national RAINN line and they will route you through. The number is 1-800-656-HOPE
They also have an online hotline. Check it out here: RAINN

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