I couldn’t tell because I wasn’t stupid. He never had to make a threat. He was a dimpled charmer, and I had a flat affect. I was so negative I was so Negative after all those years being made his sieve I was the place he poured his rage I was the place where his
de/s/ire collected I was on the surface mostly a blank, blank place so far inside myself gone I could barely talk at all you could ask me anything and back I’d stare I didn’t want to give anyone else anything that might come from all my many mouths Not even the truth or my supposedly valuable voice All I wanted was to be left alone, alone. All I wanted was a pile of portals to anyone else’s worlds All I wanted was a locked door and a bed full of books and maybe a tesseract. I didn’t tell because I didn’t want to disturb the known world because I knew if I did, I’d be left to sift myself (into what?) and because I always knew how very small it was to be a girl and because all my mother had wanted was family and I thought my brothers needed a father Because after I told there would be a sheriff who’d ask my mother what she’d done to deprive a man so he’d turn his need on me and everybody everybody would shake so much blame on her, my dear mother who’d known nothing my dear mother who was slivered as much as any of us by the truth and that sheriff would badger “are you sure?”—was I sure I was really that young, was I sure because it seemed Odd my story didn’t match his story because clearly if there were a liar the small girl must be the liar she must have motives that snarling pinchfaced girl must have something up her pantsleeves and no matter what he did she must be at least exaggerating let’s not bother imagining the unimaginable the unimaginable being yes, a grown man would, and did, and knew damn well what he was doing because power is being able to give favor to whomever's mind we can most easily map to our own, and that sheriff had power until he didn’t, until the dear Assistant DA had those tapes thrown out, and new tapes made, new statements, but still that sheriff would come sit in my section at Waffle House after work and grin, the point being if I thought I could get off my knees, he’d make sure I served standing and there would a newsprint article and reporters always fuck up the facts and there would be the constant of being told what a minor, Minor Child could not do (have a place to live without adult supervision, as if adult supervision had worked so well all those years) and it would be so funny when The Boys filled my computer with kiddie porn just to fuck with me because GOD COULD YOU LIGHTEN UP but no, neither I nor God, far as I could tell, could lighten up and because all the others he’d touched/ raped/ somehow harmed would scramble to whisper their support oh my truth but they wouldn’t dare say it out loud in a courtroom who knows why, maybe it was his family’s money (Did all those quiet girls with his family name kept their inheritance lines?) but I oh how lucky never had his family name or maybe it was pure plain cowardice that kept them clamped (I lied, too, terrified, at the start) but no other Victims showed a voice in court, and I was alone But I told because when I was sixteen Kathleen called me her most beautiful poet then she told for me I told because my most favorite Girl and I together showed ourselves how glorious real sex was I told because my most favorite Boy and I together showed ourselves how glorious real sex was and he told for me Because the guidance counselor asked, “how are you going to feel if you let him get off and there are others?” And because I had always been writing I had been writing everything before I even knew letters I’d been writing and so when the time came I handed over the handwritten, dated pages which detailed the whole history of all he had done which I had always been writing because the written world had always been more real to me than reality, my small self had decided to write the reality (as preservation of my sanity) So finally he fell to a child’s journal. I never had to take the stand— he took the plea and after me, there never was another. No matter what I still carry, I broke the broken legacy and that is enough. Go here if you missed the introduction to the "Beyond Survival" posts.