We are taught
from the moment we leave our pink nursery
that we are collapsable paper dolls
light to hold
easier to crumple.
that as women our worth lies secretly wrapped in lace and cotton panties
our fragility armored with pepper spray and mace, they say:
ONE IN TEN. ONE IN SIX. ONE IN THREE
women will be raped or sexually abused in her lifetime
and I am one of three daughters.
You weren’t just violated, we tell her
You are an empty museum
A gutted monument to what used to hold so much worth
And with the best intentions we tell her to reclaim it,
Put a price tag on her rape and own it,
But don’t stand too tall, don’t act too strong
or we will name you denial, come back when you’re ready to crumble
Like your bones are made of chalk
You may only laugh or cry beautifully
So cry beautifully
We are calling it theft
As if he could pluck open your ribs like cello strings
Pocket your breasts, steal what makes your heart flutter and tack its wings to his wall,
Some days you will feel dirty!
Some days you’ll remember how hard it is to breathe in public, like your heart beat is climbing to the attic of your throat only to suicide itself out on the pavement
But know this: the person who did this to you is broken, not you.
The person who did this to you is out there, somewhere choking on the glass of his chest, it is a windsheild, and his heart is a baseball bat saying wreck this, wreck this
NOTHING WAS STOLEN FROM YOU.
Your body is not a hand-me-down
There is nothing that sits inside you holding your worth,
no locket that can be seen or touched, sucked from your stomach and left on the concrete
And I know sometimes it’s hard to feel perfect
when you can’t tell an adam’s apple from a fist
because some ashtray of a man forced you to play his eden.
but I will not