Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Poetry: College

By @BizTheUnicorn


I look at this paper

wondering how I can tell you a story that I’ve never experienced

because it is her story

and the story of so many

but I experienced her

I could smell the shame emanating from her body every time anyone called her attractive

I could feel her hands shaking almost as if they were my own

I imagine that it’s like that panic attack I had

except hers never ended

she was in a constant state of aftershocks

occasionally interrupted by earthquakes

what amazes me the most is that when she looked at me, she could still hold love in her eyes

even though, not just once, but again

and again

and again

someone taught her with their hands,

reaching out and taking more from her every time,

that bodies were made to be used

and no-one cares what happened behind a closed door

and if reputation or stereotypes are involved, forget it

what amazes me even more is that when we talked about our hands

she knew the difference

part of me screams that I shouldn’t be writing this

that it isn’t my story to tell

it’s my cousins’, my nephews’, my first love’s, my little sister’s, my best friend’s, my mother’s…

God, isn’t it terrifying to realize that it takes more than one hand to count how many people you love that have been sexually assaulted?

it’s terrifying to count any

but when I see them

that isn’t what I’m thinking about

they laugh, they smile, they cry, they feel, they live

they are people

not statistics

not conversation topics

not jokes

not news headlines

not the remnants of a disaster

and not the same

I think sometimes,

we forget that.

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
1 Like 2 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.

By clicking Sign Up, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House's
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.