POETRY
Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time the world seemed safe
men I trusted didn’t trick me
didn’t hold me down
didn’t take by force
what society told me was special
If those men can do that
what can men I don’t trust do?
 
Once upon a time I didn’t punish myself
trying to take some control back
telling myself I invited this
by growing older, being almost a teen
flogging myself with what ifs
should having until the scars of blame
lacerated me as much as the original attack
 
Once upon a time I didn’t know terror
I wasn’t painfully aware
in the pit of my belly
in the ache in my chest
in the air entombed in my throat
that I could be so damaged
and live through it
 
Once upon a time I didn’t know
living through the actual act
was the easy part