I do not remember where
The small town detective
Sat down with me
To take my statement

These are the kinds of memories
Our brains just can’t hold on to
Though, I do remember his eyes
His sidelong glances
The kind that
Every teenage girl is accustomed to
He doesn’t want to be here

But it’s not my fault
I didn’t call the police
This wasn’t my idea
I didn’t want any of this 

But…
I didn’t want that either
And my breath catches in my throat
Like a moth in a net
Fragile
And fucking terrified
As a wave of memory
Crashes over my body
Unwelcome
Like his hands
Like his hunger

He asks me
How old were you
And i know what he’s really asking
Fifteen

I’ve been told
Fifteen year olds cannot consent
Not with someone twice their age.
What does a fifteen year old
Have to offer a thirty year old?

Statutory rape
That word was sacrilege
To me for so long
He made sure of it
It rolled off his lips like a curse.
His particular flavor of blasphemy

Even now
Sitting here with this cop
Reaching that conclusion
Is like trying to see through a thick haze

It’s remarkable
What dexterous hands can do
With a young, malleable mind

Statutory rape
But this time
The times he’s asking about
The first time
It was not
There was nothing statutory about it

So i try to tell him
I try to describe what it feels like
To try to escape your own body
Like an animal in a cage
Try’s to gnaw off their own leg

How the body is unwilling
How it seizes up
Clenches like a vice
How when faced with something
Immovable
Impenetrable
He searches
Until he finds something
More yielding

Did you scream
He interrupts me
Did you fight?
Why did you go with him?
Don’t you love me?

Those last words are not his own
But another’s
I hear them all the same
And just like before
I don’t fight
I just cry
Tears sliding silently down my cheeks
Small, transient monuments
To this thing
My life has become

He did not write rape on his report
So i did not write it in my brain

It’s been twelve years
But i think
My pen is finally ready

Helen Ward is a waitress living in Fuquay-Varina, NC.  She lives with her husband and two children and enjoys reading and writing poems and short stories in her free time.


Image: “When the Smoke Clears” by Jill Malouf – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81851858

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