Why do you walk like that, they ask
and I say it is because my life has been weighed down
by the knowledge that a man lives his life in proximity to mine
with unpermitted evidence of what exists beneath my skirt,
folded up inside me in the most intimate way possible
and ripped away with the press of a button
and without thought of the way it might make me shake
at the thought of the sanctity he stole from me.
Why does she act like that, they ask
and she says it is because the only man who ever said
he loved her was also the one that unbuttoned and reached
into her jeans before she was even allowed to agree,
his rough, guitar playing hands on soft and forbidden skin
as he had such a nasty habit of doing with other girls,
playing them and stroking them as if they were instruments
he could add to his repertoire.
Why does she cry like that, they ask
and she says it is because someone she trusted
took the bottle of wine out of her hands and as it shattered
into a million pieces on the hard wood floor, he broke her into a million more
and he ripped into her body as if it was a garden
only meant for him to plant himself in, but from the soil,
daisies didn’t grow, instead self-hatred sprouted in the spring
and doubt bloomed as the leaves began to fall.
Why do we talk like that, they ask
and we say it is because our lives have been defined
by moments we would trade back for the naivety they
stole in a heartbeat, staring at our bodies in the mirrors,
haunted by the war zone that they turned us into,
carrying the weight of their hands on our skin
because we don’t forget.
We can’t possibly forget, the way their touch seared
into our skin burned into our minds until the sunsets.
Why do they laugh like that, we ask
and they say it is because they got to keep living their lives
as if nothing had ever happened and in that moment
that we can’t move beyond,
we were just another tally mark to add to their list,
another body they get to call theirs and while we remain, lost,
getting pulled beneath the sea crashing all around us,
the clock on the wall never stopped ticking for them
Why won’t you touch me, I ask
and he says it is because he can still see
another man’s hand print pressed on my chest,
his name branded on my body claiming me
like an animal he purchased to raise
and slaughter at his flickering whim,
never once stopping to think about the way he’s ruined my body and
stole from me all I could give to the man that I actually love.