This is how I learned that “no”
cannot always save you. That

your hands are a prison. That
shame is something the body

becomes. It has been years since
I’ve met my own eyes in the

mirror, years since I’ve undressed
myself with the lights on. I do

not know where to put my body
when a boy looks at me like I’m

able to save him. I cross the street
and look both ways. I do not

always wear a seatbelt. I do not
like the finality of a pen. When I

dream of you and your basement
and your mouth and the shadow

of your body and the way you
said my name, like it choked you

on the way down but that you
loved the violence of it, I wake

and fumble for the light switch.
If I saw you now I probably

would not recognize you. Do you
know how terrifying that is?

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