rat poison

when i told my brother about my rape,
he laughed,
assumed it was just a cry for attention.
like the time val swallowed a bottle of her pills
knowing full well a night in the hospital
was the worst that could happen.
yes i want your attention —
to be directed towards our country’s rape culture.
i want talking about the atrocity
to be as commonplace as the deed itself.
the united states of america
the land of the free
where we go bat shit crazy
if someone tries to take away our right
to keep military grade assault rifles,
but we laugh in the faces of raped women
when their humanity is stripped from them,
left like dirty laundry on the floor.
we assume they’re lying,
that their motive is attention.
or even better,
we believe them,
then bury them in reasons it was their fault.
pretend that there are actual reasons that negate
their right to decide who and what
comes anywhere near — let alone touches —
their bodies.
our bodies.
my body
he decided was his for the taking.
shattered and left it in a pile at my front door.
i took it out on my family
the frustration that is sewing pieces together blindly
there is no pattern for this kind of healing.
i stuffed my pieces with cotton
in attempts to replace what he stole.
as gifts, i gave away
the pieces i could not seem to reattach.
i sent my self respect
in jpegs attached to texts of sweet nothings
that i typed out on my flip phone
as permission,
because it feels better to give yourself
than it does to have your self taken
i slowly learned that not everyone who wants you
will rape you
as long as you send him nudes when he asks.

hundreds have run from my story
uncomfortable is the enemy of any hard-to-tell tale
it is avoided like the plague.
to which i say:
it takes a lot of rat poison to silence me.
i know i fought for this title,
but i’ll trade in my victim status
if they’ll stop showering me in blame.
for years i brainstormed excuses for him:
maybe he didn’t hear me say no 200 times
maybe he doesn’t know what no means
maybe he’s watched too much of that porn
where the girl keeps saying no
but they make it seem like she means yes.
maybe i wanted it and didn’t know.
i didn’t punch him, did I?
didn’t throw him off of me?
he was small
i probably could have done that, couldn’t I?
admission did not come for years.
not even to myself.
the whole school heard we’d fucked by monday.
i told them: “i dont know which one of us talks when we’re drunk”
i lied, i knew it was him.
there were rumors i was pregnant.
they named the nonexistent baby.
there were rumors it happened in a washing machine,
and people who actually believed that was possible.
my senior year, a sophomore told everyone he raped her.
she was then bullied out of her education.
i am still haunted, knowing i said nothing.
knowing he did to her what he did to me.
i was nothing but a useless bystander,
an awed onlooker,
as she was burned at the stake
by the devils in our catholic school hallways.
i’ve been building a time machine
so i can go back and proclaim through those halls:
i believe you
i believe you
i believe you are the victim
of his breath
his grip
his refusal to listen
i was his victim too.
we were society’s victims too.
this culture
that supports him and bullies you out of school.
they’re either ignorant or apathetic,
and i call bullshit on ignorance,
because i’ve been screaming my humiliation from the rooftops.
watching everyone
rush inside
shut their windows
close the blinds
turn up the tv volume
but i’m still up there screaming
until rat poison takes me down,
because someone has to.
we all have to.
the crazy girl screaming on the roof can be ignored.
but a chorus of thousands of women
singing songs of fuck you,
why aren’t you listening?
we will overflow the rooftops
and pour into the streets,
into offices
and bars
and stores
and homes
in hopes that maybe one day we will be believed.

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