Victim, Blaming

I poured more than my cup could hold

as if I did not anticipate

the spillage. Liquor-bloated girl-sponge

easing dance floor friction

by taking down her basic functions

shot by shot by shot:

that is to say

the gun was in my hands


this was not the first time

I tipsy-ed off balance—

I have always fallen into safety nets

held out like hammocks

by friends. When he promised

to catch me that night, how was I to know

he traded his net for a spider’s web?

I dressed the part for a party,

painted and prettied in black and red.

I knew how he yearned

for the inches above my hem,

for the widened gap of my dipping neckline,

how he wanted me

like only a man can want a woman


what I mean is

he pursued me

as if “I just want to be

friends,” and “I don’t like you

that way,” and

“don’t kiss me

again,” were invitations

to try harder.

the rest of the night comes

like slow fireworks, moments

of bright and noise in otherwise darkness:

city lights smearing the night

like yesterday’s makeup.

the train, sallow and screeching

metallic into Harrison. He calls

my name so I follow

him onto the platform—

you could call it willingness—


I am past thinking for myself, past

even autopilot. there is nothing

left to steer this body and I feel it

crumple to the concrete. He bends down,

pulls me up with a snaked arm, and I walk

or am dragged down stairs,

outside, in a house, to a bed—

the rest is




not quite remembered


just enough

to know

what he did.

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