I have been in the heart of the Devil,
The backbone of terrified women.
I’ve suffered at the hands of sinners,
Their eyes casting wide copper nets
Of hate and lust.
Our secrets sift to the top of our throats,
Filtering out like smoky shadows from between our teeth.
And this earth covers me with her bones,
Great granite arches,
Protecting me from the hands that you laid on me,
Rough with loathing and power.
You took my voice for a year,
Buried it beneath your father’s grave,
Pain seeping into your hatred.
You said you loved me as you smothered me when I tried to scream.
I tried so desperately to stay out of your reach,
But you just couldn’t take enough without wanting more.
Now I’m terrified when I see a red Jeep,
Terrified it’s you passing me on the other side of these wide paved roads,
Although it’s been so long you must have a different car now.
You took years of my life,
Nightmares that mimicked the life you made me live.
Some nights they still haunt me. I can feel my ribs cracking again,
A blackout filled with white light,
Your eyes filling my vision.
Pain cracking my hips open like you’re taking what you want,
Just as fresh as that first time.
But I’ll keep telling myself what I tell everyone else:
“I’m a survivor, not a victim. What’s in the past is best left there.”
Maybe someday those words will ring a little more truthfully.