by Danielle Howe

Cambridge

CN: sexual assault, consent, death ideation

 

 

I am nineteen

I can remember the smoke, suffocating;

We left the fire burning too long

Soft crackling, dancing flames

No –

Choking, swirling

My addicted ass loves the nicotine rush

Rush

Rush of –

Fear?

Am I choking on the smoke or your cologne?

 

I am nineteen

And I should be a grown ass woman

But I’m shaking,

And pressed against you,

“Be quiet,”

But I’m choking

 

Say no

Leave

Say something, God dammit fucking scream

Please

For yourself

 

I’m nineteen

I know how to say no

I should know how to say no

But I can’t say anything

And I can’t move

So I think about the stars

And I think about my home

And I imagine the thousands of miles that stretch between me and safety

Me. In that moment. The thousands of miles

My screams wouldn’t reach that far

So I’m quiet

And I’m still

And I imagine

That perhaps

Just maybe

I am dead

 

I think

I think I was silenced for too long

I think that I say too much without saying anything

I think that I speak for others and never for myself

I think that, when I fight for safety, for change,

It is not something I ever envisioned for myself

I think that, when I dream of liberation, I never considered that it might extend to me

 

To me

Me too

Me too, god dammit

Me

Too

 


Image: Open Minder, ‘Sparkling Fire’

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