Trigger Warning: Rape, Child Abuse
Credit again to my friend over at Shell Gamesfor recording!
“My life,” the child cries
“is not your metaphor.”
Her small body freshly raped
Is torn asunder.
Fragile small being
Was not made to take such cruelty.
Hammered to bits
If she survives
The scar tissue will build walls inside of her
Wrapped around her shattered mind
Like a grain of sand—
No pearl will come from this.
“My trauma,” the child wails
“is not your poorly construed metaphor.”
Should her broken body survive
It will never love as it might have once.
Should her mind permit her to go on
It will never see the same world.
Mirrors cannot be
There are some wounds
The child will learn
Should she survive
That therapy cannot heal
“I am not hypothetical,” the child screams
“and I am not your
Confession time: I zone out during most of the poems I hear at these readings out of disinterest, distraction (I find myself wanting to write more rather than listen more often than not), or general meh-ness. Sometimes a poem really catches my attention, on the other hand, either by their sheer power and goodness or something absolutely awful happening within them.
And when something really awful happens in a poem, there is an opportunity for inspiration, an opportunity to write something in response. This is one such poem written in response to a truly awful metaphor which showcased the writer’s ignorance of the subject matter and shocking lack of empathy.
In writing this poem I refer to physical trauma experienced by some victims of childhood rape, sometimes culminating in death. While thinking on these details I recalled a National Geographic article that I had years prior titled “Too Young To Wed,” which detailed the experiences a child bride might survive (or not survive) as a result of their youth and physical under-development. More research about the long-term psychological impact of child rape on survivors was compiled and discussed here by a survivor.
Response poems. I’ll try to be writing more of them, in the interest of continuing to write as much as I can. And also in the interest of maintaining my reputation as a belligerent fuck.