Written for the Sandbox Writing Challenge 2018 – Exercise 25
“Do you see something of yourself in this little child?
If so, what?”
You ask what it was like.
Your brows furrow as I describe multiple rapes,
Terror of death.
Cringing hatred blurring the vision.
Images of crazy pistons, runaway trains.
Bruises burns broken bones invasion pain
bruises burns broken bones invasion pain
bruises burns broken bones invasion pain.
given my past,
why the promiscuity?
Once, I hunted for excuses,
citing the tail end of the hippie era.
“Everybody was doing it.”
Still the question:
“But why you?”
I could tell you what the records show.
perhaps I was trying to re-enact
the horror, that it might shrink, morph into
a joke or a commonplace memory,
and I thought it could make me
normal, mistakenly believing that frequent practice
between the sheets in all weathers, on the beach on balmy nights, under trees on starlit evenings, on the back seats of a cars, in wheat fields and deep grass, in gardens, behind cinemas, in derelict buildings, under bridges, next to rivers, in my best friend’s den, in strangers’ garages, in my grandmas shed and that failed time in a smelly public inconvenience,
would give me a taste for it.
I’ll admit the thrill of each easy catch.
Ego-tripping through pubs and parks, a skilled actor
playing the part of a sylph, twisting hearts, tweaking dicks.
Hiding my dearth beneath a pretty face,
swaying wet-dream curves, displaying a fake sparkle which
as alien lips kissed the throat that used to choke,
and hands, so like those that wrapped around my neck,
stretched toward my shuddering breast.
Gritting my teeth,
cold in the places where women are wet,
shamefully failing at pleasure.
of my cause.
how I feel about the past.
I’ll shrug and tell you
the child who dragged her baggage
through hiccuping failure, whose sleepwalking feet
crushed wilting daisies, whose foolish errors
infected the next generation,
finally grew balls
Fresh air embraces me,
leads me into a waltz. Together, we celebrate
the familiar gift of menopause.
Your brows furrow.
You’d like to know how I am now.
How kind of you to ask.
I am like most of us; I have walked and run,
slipped on banana skins, been kicked
by beasts and healed by love.
I retired from lugging dust.
I am well.
©Jane Paterson Basil