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  • JMR

Perfect Shards

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

* Content warning for rape.


I am trying to decide what I am allowed to call rape

I have been reading stories testimonies

straddling the tightrope of definition

it is not easy not black and white

and something about the word makes me feel weak

and dirty

and a liar


he shoved himself in my face in a movie theater until I

gave in

I didn’t say stop

he pinned me against a bookshelf until I met his lips

I didn’t say stop

he undressed me after a party when I’d had too much to drink

said relax and choked me tighter until my eyes bulged

bit me so raw it hurt to wear jeans

thrust harder as I cried under the weight of him

I didn’t say stop

he told me he loved me

I believed him


you learn how not to feel

his fingers on your skin

numb yourself to his pieces digging inside you

to depths you will block off

past your gut

to your lungs heart throat

until you can make no sound

and you cannot say the words

and you cannot. say. the words.

and your body sounds rotten in your own mouth

he is not with you tonight but you sleep with dissociation

stark naked at two in the morning

afraid to look at what’s left


laying in his semen and my blood

across the room he swears and punches the wall

the condom broke again

he doesn’t apologize or ask if I am okay

and in the bathroom I stand beneath water

so hot it’s cold almost orgasmic

I realize I have never felt what it’s like

and most days I don’t think I want to

I don’t know who to tell this to

I don’t have money for a pill so

I claw inside myself to get him out

try to be clean

walk home in the cold under stars that will not shine


I did it to say I’d done it

to tell myself I could choose

to be touched and to feel like I wanted to be

six summers after the movie theater

on a Thursday morning

the upstairs bedroom

on navy sheets

my body cut by light broken

into perfect shards

by dusty plastic blinds

the whole time he didn’t look at me

forced my mouth

seized and groaned

his liquid dripping down me

crusting my skin


he handed me a towel and I dressed in a corner

like a child atoning for a sin

in the bathroom I vomited at the sight of myself


I can’t touch myself

desire tastes like tar and I am dry like cement

and I am afraid I always will be

and I am afraid to have someone love me

undress this body

and realize there is nothing left

whether the lights are on or off

it is no wonder they call it ‘taking’

and why I bled each time


I am trying to decide what I am allowed to call rape

if I told myself I deserved it

wanted it

if I told myself this was how it was supposed to be

the men don’t understand

even the ones who almost do

this is why we muzzle ourselves imprison ourselves for a robbery we did not commit

we do not believe our own stories

I do not believe myself when I say it by name






I was raped by a boy who told me he loved me

in a movie theater when I was thirteen

and I told myself I wasn’t

and I told no one.

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