heathen (poem)

An attempt to translate twelve year old me’s muddled diary entry after being assaulted while sleeping on the metro train:

Today, from that metal chrysalis I emerge a mangled butterfly.

I fly home and tear down all the lil’s taped to my wall,

ashamed I let so many men watch me sleep.

I lock myself in my room & avoid mirrors;

my metamorphosis made my reflection a source of pride and revulsion.

Now, my lower back spasms in fear when I’m called beautiful, and I’m confused that

words that can’t help but make me smile,

could also mean another middle-aged man wants to unbutton my jeans.

So I pack my dimples with shame and  teach my face to rest in a scowl.

“Why you so angry?”

“Smile mama, it ain’t that bad.”

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!” I want to scream.

But I don’t, because my tongue was trained not to cuss, because I was supposed to give my whole body over to Jesus but it’s ok cause He’s a good man; I can let Him inside. Even though Him being there didn’t stop the molesting hand.


And I wonder how my small body could contain two whole men at once.

Then I’m scared for my soul, cause I start to wish no man was there at all,

that it was just me,

that I only belonged to me.