It was my first time

It was my first time, being out
after 9, knowing mom would be
angrier than ever, but her smile
when I knock on the door, at
quarter to 10, and her denial
when asked if she worried, ‘of course
not, I knew you’d be back, soon’,
she’d say, would slowly fill the gaps
between our silent dinner together

It was my first time, at a party, I was
never much of a party person, so
many people, so loud, so momentary
it made me nervous
and how people became friends,
so easily, escaped me
but I knew parties, were just
places, where loneliness lost its name,
and became loneliness, without context

It was my first time, drinking, and
laughing, I almost forgot my worries,
and my sister threw back her hair, so
lightly, and she was so happy, I thought
she could cry
We drank from tiny glasses, three
fingers deep, the liquid was bitter and
warm, and three boys sat across from
the bar, looked at us and blushed,
and my sister said ‘the drinks are getting
warmer in our palms’, and I laughed too

It was my first waking up, mom’s voice,
swimming through the haze, wake up
honey, wake up, it’s almost afternoon
already, and I slowly strained my eyes open,
mom wasn’t there, only a nurse, in
starched white uniform, and a growing
patch of sweat, expanding
we thought we’d lost you for a minute, she said
can you remember anything that happened,
we need to examine you, can you
can you understand?
I nod

It was my first rape, and there can be no
more, for there isn’t
any more of me, to
assault, there isn’t
enough body, there isn’t
enough soul, later I hear, he had pushed
three fingers inside me,
that’s the same we use, to measure the
depth of tequila shots, he had kept going
he had kept assaulting
my battleground of
a body, he had kept going
only because I hadn’t stopped

It was his first time too, he pleaded, a year later, in front of a jury,
it was his career, he said
she was drunk, he said,
not ‘sorry, it was my fault’, 
not ‘it was me, and I should be punished’,
but ‘she’
but ‘parties and alcohol’
but ‘career’
‘besides, she didn’t resist’, he adds,
as if an afterthought,
as if it was supposed to make
the jury sigh in relief
‘thank god, finally, we can say not guilty’

It’s always the first time for
someone, I wanted to say, and
raping someone while they were
unconscious, is like stabbing
someone while they slept, and no,
it’s all your fault,
and no, six months isn’t enough,
six months is how long it takes,
for summer to fade into winters,
six months is how
long it took for me,
to write this letter
and if you still think you’re innocent,
imagine how it’d feel, if it was
the first time you let your mother
be angry, thinking
over dinner, you’ll let your silences
dissolve the anger, and now,
silence dissolves itself everyday,
in how our
eyes meet, scared
but stubborn,
but breathing, yet



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