To Be Wanted

Is it so much to ask
the moon to ignore the stars
and just gaze on me
and shine all the brighter
after swelling with affection
and glowing in my reflected
life? I suppose there’d have to be
life in me to start with.
I suppose I’d have to have
light so contagious no one
would want to put me out.
Yes, we need to want ourselves
if what we desire most is
to be wanted.


A Lover’s Faux Pas

To this day he won’t admit what it was.
In his brokenness, and mine, he pinned, drowned
me, pushed me, and thus his grief fable, down.
Broke in and entered–a lover’s faux pas.
Hellish red leather, hot under babe claws
scratching for mercy, reaching all around,
grasping, gasping for air, arms to surround
me with security– Force made me pause
beneath him. But I am not beneath him.
No. And it’s not crying wolf when the sheep
lie mutilated, when memory stains
reveal this harlequin’s bitter chagrin
at the truth that makes me weep; that this creep
moves on unscathed while I maintain dried veins.

Guest Post by Jasbina Misir – How To Be A Good Ally To Sexual Assault Survivors

Thank you, Jasbina. This is exactly the kind of thing people need to read, and exactly the kind of truth we all need to promote.

The Belle Jar

by Jasbina Misir

TW: sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, victim-blaming

I wanted to share something truly disgusting and awful that happened to me this past Monday.

At 1 AM I was sexually assaulted during a concert. On the dance floor when the crowd rushed the stage. These are all the details I want to and am going to share. I have filed a report with the police and an investigation to catch the assailant is ongoing.

Why am I sharing this? I am sharing this because for me and for many survivors, talking about what happened is a key part of surviving, healing, responding to erasure and silencing. Talking about an assault can be a way for people to get some kind of accountability for what happened, even if that accountability only ever comes in the form of speaking their truth.

I’ve heard people say that talking about sexual violence experience is…

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Does it make you uncomfortable
to digest this defective conception
that we, with two flowers, stems,
and one humble home for some
potential someones ~flower children~
must collect the soft pillow
they’d have laid their little heads on
in a soppy, sloppy bandage,
or else cork the very rite of passage
they didn’t go through, all the while
enduring the aching, constricting
push push push
without hopeful coaching? Yes,
just an empty ring, a pulpy fighter
alone in a pool of bright wet sweat
(and more) still dripping down their
nose tip and mixed with the soul’s
windows’ leak and the unnecessary
drip drip drip
of an optimistic IV far away, waiting
for the splashing crash of a tearing sac–

We drag our feet, clutch our centers,
have our cores carved until seedless;
our attempts to create will be needless
once our flowers hold no bud or pollen
and their stems bow their necks in defeat,
broken from years of holding up heads
filled with dread for the cringing, yucky
stares of onlookers not wanting to see
but staring anyway at the roadkill that is
our garden every three dime day (give or take).
They pass us by and shout disgust at us
and ours and our kind and we know
exactly why. Yes, we can understand
why you’d find it uncomfortable.

Do you know loss?

I know loss that fills you with emptiness,
So gaping a hole it leaves you as a piece of a whole.
I know loss like a single Monarch Butterfly
Trapped within four white walls, no throne to be found,
Trapped within a room all white like a jewelry box lined with shimmering satin
Waiting and eager to hold a precious jewel, to have a reason for its folds and wrinkles.

I know loss like a tear in that shimmering satin
Waiting to rip open and show the truth of what lies beneath
Beauty: simple, cardboard mimicry of the wood it once was.
It once was wood among many in a blanket of trees;
Many breaths of fresh air when in unity, but alone
Just a stump of memories.

I know loss like the last page of a favorite book being torn out,
Never to be revisited, never to be known again.
I know loss like fading memories, and unreliable recollections
Of chuckles and giggles, with his nose scrunched up
In his fits of perfect giddiness. Or was it even giddiness?
Was it, maybe, just bliss?

I know loss like not being able to capture a lone Monarch in the woods, free and flighty.
I know loss like not being able to capture anymore into words what it is to feel bliss.