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POETRY / Once Upon a Time / Lauren Milici / Writer of the Month

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CW: sexual assault

a married woman told me that I write with too much blood, too many fragments
of broken glass.
But Sarah, I said, that’s how it happened.
            That’s how it always happens: the poem starts     in the wrong place 
and a man decides to hit me      as hard as he can. Imagine, 
purplegreenblack bruise and teeth-mark scar; the photo I took to prove
                         I was raped. Hey, I tell Sarah, I was raped.
I was raped and the story reads like a rejected script; someone else’s gritty noir.
                        There are no cicadas in this poem—
no praise for the passing of seasons. No lover with a velvet touch.
             There is nothing left     to romanticize
except the curtains, the cold gray of Sunday, how life-after-trauma
is a lot like white noise, or a radio broadcast of nothing 
but static. 
I’m always punching the TV to adjust the picture. 
I’m always explaining, apologizing, using the word fuck
instead of finding a metaphor.
Sarah, there is no way to write my way out of this.
There is too much blood, too many fragments
of broken glass. This is how it happens:
a man decides to hit me   as hard as he can
and the poem blooms   in the back 
of my throat.

First published in You Are Not Your Rape Anthology – Rhythm & Bones Press


Lauren Milici is a Florida native who writes poetry, teaches English, and is currently getting her MFA in Creative Writing somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. When she isn’t crafting sad poems about sex, she’s either writing or shouting into the void about film, TV, and all things pop culture.