Flowers (or, A Beginner’s Guide to Surviving Sexual Assault) by Daniel Garcia

for Harrison and Nora

1.
On the days where you feel
more victim than survivor,
remember that this was not your fault.
There is no blueprint for dealing with trauma,
so know that whatever you are feeling
is valid. With that said,

2.
You will be revictimized.
You won’t deserve it, you’ll never ask for it,
there’ll never be a reason for it,
but it will happen, and yes,
I use these phrases for a reason,
because sometimes, what they say
will take you back to that place again,
that place of shame, and pain,
and whatever synonym for murder
that you can come up with;
they will fight for the rights to your trauma,
as if you need protecting from the body
they’re trying to take from you,
which is to say,
they will tell you it’s not your fault in one breath,
then turn and ask why you didn’t report in the next.
Remember, they did not dig this grave for you.
They are only dressing it with flowers.

3.
It says on pill bottles as a disclaimer:
“Do not operate heavy machinery.”
The irony in all of this is that
trauma is heavy fucking machinery,
which is to say,
I’m not giving you permission,
but if you ever decided it was too much,
and you wanted to rip yourself from the soil of this world,
I would understand.

4.
Some nights, it will feel like their hands
are reaching for you in the darkness,
and some nights, it still feels like his hands
are reaching for me in the darkness,
but when you wake up, gasping for air,
take it as a reminder, because even though
it still feels like they’re still here,
so are you. You, survivor, are still here,
so outgrow every storm
the universe rains on you:
the sleepless nights, the flashbacks,
the triggers, the shame, the guilt,
the mouths of every person that said
your name was victim;

5.
You are not a victim. It doesn’t feel like
you’ve survived anything, but I promise you,

6.
You are a flower, beautiful and fragile
as you may be sometimes; this is your garden,
so fertilize it with all the bullshit they told you
and when they try to take your body,
you remind them who’s living in it,
and when they try to take your voice,
you tell them, I am a survivor,
because on the days where you feel
more victim than survivor,
more desert than rainforest,
more wasteland than giving tree,
you will feel broken.

7.
It is okay to feel broken.
Broken is where the healing begins;
this is where we begin,
this is where we begin, again,
and again, and again,
so shake off these growing pains,
stretch your arms toward the sun
and do the one thing all flowers were meant to do:

Bloom.

 

 

Daniel Garcia is a poet and writer based out in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He is currently pursuing his degree in creative writing and goes to church frequently–and by church he means poetry slams. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Write About Now Poetry, SlamFind, SUGAR Magazine, Rathalla Review, Dragonfly Arts Magazine, and more. When he isn’t writing or slamming, Daniel can be found giving as many hugs as possible, living by the words “You are all that you have,” and falling off the edge of the Earth. He is the 2017 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) Head to Head Haiku Slam Champion.

Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.

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