getting angry [tw: sexual harrassment]

by cjra

at sixteen, at the bible
that said i could not have power or, at least less
than what i knew we were supposed to have,
studying at seven AM with the sticky doughnut sugar
on our fingers, stories of men being told over and over
–and at the three years later, the boys next door
asking my roommate to not wear such a low-cut shirt
because every dick is her responsibility, at

the years the married pastors say don’t touch
when all you want to do is be touching
the kind man you sit next to but you are still stomach-shaking & sixteen
beneath a soft shell of learned words–you unlearn
when he looks at you and the egg heart cracking all over your hands
like sore yellow ugly sunrise after a feverish night–
at pews and so-called tainted human contact, how girls should
never be pulpy cloths stained by none or all or nothing or

–at the boy in eighth grade who wouldn’t stop touching my hair,
arm, leg, his toothy grin at the low silence
in my voice when i said don’t touch me

but not loud enough because
i couldn’t take it anymore, and
the teacher always came too late or
maybe turned her back toward us–my
father, who had heard of young 12 yr old boys reported to the police
for grabbing girls backsides, the boys-will-be-boys, my attempted plea
now at 23 and the quietness, i hoped, the something i could say and only know–
your daughter. all of them your little girl, how can i tell the moment my body
became a little box made for the hands of others? to open, to close,
close, close