he says i am beautiful
like it is a reward:
tissue paper, egg shell.
you’re beautiful, he says.
do not worry. do not
he drools over my soft body,
rearing like a horse let loose.
he is nip, bite. he is sweating,
he is trying
to make love
out of violence.
my cheeks are earthquakes. they are
hazardous and demanding. they are
trying their best not to kill themselves:
stay still, he says
i could kill you.
is my reward.
the defensive thing inside of me
growls through its teeth.
defend your land, it says.
but he is licking
my skin with
a murderous intention.
dust is now swimming in the golden light of early morning.
the sun comes through the muted windows, begging to be set free
and i cannot remember the goddess of the sun from the books
my mother read to me in Greek so long ago
but i pray to her anyway.
i am still alive, i say to myself.
and on a good day this is truth.
on a good day, my eyes, for moments, forget
what they have seen:
dirty mattress, abandoned person, neck
slit ear to ear.
but on the days i hear them singing songs of rape,
on the days they say, but she was so drunk,
on the days they say, but so many women lie —
those are the days
i wish every man on earth
was a dream.
Spencer Wollan is 16 years old and lives in San Diego, California. They travel the world completing semester-long programs as an alternative to mainstream education. Spencer enjoys strawberry ice cream, Frank O’Hara, permaculture, and trying to understand the universe.