I Guess I Need to Clarify That Boyfriend and Rapist in These Poems Are the Same Person

— Simone Person

In 2010, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center found that more than half
(51.1%) of female rape victims reported being raped by an intimate partner.


My rapist was not shadow-masked. He used to tell me he loved me. Brought weekly flowers ringed in apologies. Fell asleep in my arms. I had shared grocery trips. Listened to him cry. Caramelized onions for his breakfast scrambles.

//

White women keep thinking this poem and I are for them, some sugared reflecting pool of their lives. Placed me on top of a crumbling pedestal. Haunted goddess to project their miseries onto. Perpetual wet nurse to every milk-skinned girl.

//

He says he couldn’t have raped me. That I made it up. Stared into the purpling sky of his face and wished myself important. I was too hungry to be anything more than practice. Misshapen waiting room until a real prospect came along.

//

White women relentlessly assume kinship. Unspoken sisterhood while she unknots her fingers through my hair and assigns me beautiful. Brave. In spite of. Asterisked Black girl.

//

I invited in these men. Sealed off my own exits. Called it love. Called it passion. Called it dutiful daughter. Curled up between the spaces of their teeth—eager fool painting bliss across my face.


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