what do i call it when you get us beers and assure me that everything's fine and we never talk about it ever again?

OPEN LETTER TO WHAT YOU DID OR DIDN'T DO

last night
over the phone
Kelly tells me that
the time
when she had been
very clearly
unambiguously
raped
that time
was actually
the easiest one to get over
it’s
the gray ones
she tells me
the complicated ones you can’t quite name
the ones you can’t
100%
confidently call
“rape”
those
are the ones
that still follow us around each day
and i swear
at that moment
i see this sudden flash
of your face
in the back of my head
and at that moment
i get it
i finally understand why
sometimes
i wish you had left bruises behind that day
why sometimes
i wish you had just held me down
why sometimes
i wish i had very clearly said No
and you had very clearly said Shut up
all it takes
is this one call with Kelly
over a year later
and i actually find myself
wishing i had been drunk
and that you had been sober
wishing it all happened at night
instead of in the afternoon
in your living room
after me wanting to go home
and you convincing me not to
instead of me sort of kissing you back
instead of me sort of saying Yes
but then
sort of
saying No
but then being dared by you
into sort of saying Yes again
i wish i hadn’t
sort of fucked you back
because what do i call that
i can’t exactly call it rape right?
if i sort of wanted it
but sort of didn’t?
i wish i hadn’t been so desperate to make you happy
i wish i hadn’t been so afraid to turn you down
i just wanted to feel like i mattered
i just wanted to feel useful
because when i was with you
i was this tiny little bird
cleaning the teeth of a crocodile
and i knew at any moment
you could just swallow me up
i wish i hadn’t
i wish it wasn’t
so
fucking
gray
because
what do i call this?
how can i kill this demon
if i can’t give it a name?
what do i call it if it wasn’t rape
but i still woke up the next day
feeling like i had been
completely hollowed out?
what do i call it when you get us beers
and assure me that everything’s fine
and we never talk about it
ever again?
because it wasn’t rape
just two fucked-up kids
having a really bad day right?
is that what you call it?
is that what i should call it?
just a bad day?

 

jamie mortara (they/them/their) is a queer poet and publisher based in Portland, Oregon. they are founder of the audio magazine Voicemail Poems as well as the indie chapbook and zine press Impossible Wings. their debut full-length poetry collection “some planet” is available through YesYes Books with another forthcoming soon. more of jamie’s work can be found at http://jamiemortara.com

element (266)

Jamie Mortara

what do i call it when you get us beers and assure me that everything’s fine and we never talk about it ever again?

OPEN LETTER TO WHAT YOU DID OR DIDN'T DO

last night
over the phone
Kelly tells me that
the time
when she had been
very clearly
unambiguously
raped
that time
was actually
the easiest one to get over
it’s
the gray ones
she tells me
the complicated ones you can’t quite name
the ones you can’t
100%
confidently call
“rape”
those
are the ones
that still follow us around each day
and i swear
at that moment
i see this sudden flash
of your face
in the back of my head
and at that moment
i get it
i finally understand why
sometimes
i wish you had left bruises behind that day
why sometimes
i wish you had just held me down
why sometimes
i wish i had very clearly said No
and you had very clearly said Shut up
all it takes
is this one call with Kelly
over a year later
and i actually find myself
wishing i had been drunk
and that you had been sober
wishing it all happened at night
instead of in the afternoon
in your living room
after me wanting to go home
and you convincing me not to
instead of me sort of kissing you back
instead of me sort of saying Yes
but then
sort of
saying No
but then being dared by you
into sort of saying Yes again
i wish i hadn’t
sort of fucked you back
because what do i call that
i can’t exactly call it rape right?
if i sort of wanted it
but sort of didn’t?
i wish i hadn’t been so desperate to make you happy
i wish i hadn’t been so afraid to turn you down
i just wanted to feel like i mattered
i just wanted to feel useful
because when i was with you
i was this tiny little bird
cleaning the teeth of a crocodile
and i knew at any moment
you could just swallow me up
i wish i hadn’t
i wish it wasn’t
so
fucking
gray
because
what do i call this?
how can i kill this demon
if i can’t give it a name?
what do i call it if it wasn’t rape
but i still woke up the next day
feeling like i had been
completely hollowed out?
what do i call it when you get us beers
and assure me that everything’s fine
and we never talk about it
ever again?
because it wasn’t rape
just two fucked-up kids
having a really bad day right?
is that what you call it?
is that what i should call it?
just a bad day?

 

jamie mortara (they/them/their) is a queer poet and publisher based in Portland, Oregon. they are founder of the audio magazine Voicemail Poems as well as the indie chapbook and zine press Impossible Wings. their debut full-length poetry collection “some planet” is available through YesYes Books with another forthcoming soon. more of jamie’s work can be found at http://jamiemortara.com