Ones Who Got Away With It
I still fantasize that I can do something about it.
That girl in the outpatient-care-facility for teenagers
confided in me that she snuck out to see a guy, much older
at his frat party, and he forced her on his three friends, to have a taste,
when he was done. “Is it supposed
to hurt so much?” She whispered to me——
“I mean, for this long after?”
She was severely bulimic and we both
hated our mothers. The next day I said, We should tell someone.
And she said, “I’ve talked it over with my best friend
and she says I should be proud of it.”
She was thirteen and I was sixteen. She looked up to me
as I recovered from my first time succeeding
at death-defying thoughts, streaking
across the house, and out into the yard, mom
chasing after, roaring “Why are you doing this to me!?”
like something out of a Marx Brother’s outtake,
darkly impersonating our killers, our dumb luck,
with our hysterical self-preservation, our inherited loneliness——
But dammit I hope that girl’s doing well. I hope she can keep food down
and it’s nourishing her, her cells cheering like parents
in the stands of a game, even if those men still exist——important men,
I imagine. Men who run conglomerates and have well-to-do families.
Or maybe men I see every day at work
or whose books I read.
And how am I here
with my little life intact——and mom’s too,
for the most part; or that my fern thrives on the windowsill
far away from those rooms overlooking Route 7
and the grain silos. I’m painful to the touch only
when I don’t light a candle and praise oblivion.
I’d slid-shut my teenage-self’s veranda doors
and stepped out onto the world’s fancy balconies
and was prepared to do something drastic
like live and live and live.
BIANCA STONE is a poet and visual artist. She’s the author of the poetry collection Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, and contributing artist/collaborator on a special illustrated edition of Anne Carson’s Antigonick from New Directions. She co-founded and edits Monk Books, and chairs The Ruth Stone Foundation, an organization based in Vermont and Brooklyn, NY. Her newest book, Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours is out now from Pleiades Press.