[trigger warning: sexual assault, rape]

I did not understand most of the fiery language that rolled off their tongues. You do not have to understand words to remember them. And they, both their words and bodies, branded my body before I knew her — before she became them, before they became me.

I was too drunk or they were too drunk or we were both too drunk to care about pleasantries necessary before what was coming. My pulse skipping to the boom of bass and drum, Rihanna’s falsetto pounded against walls of the small-town dancehall — “please don’t stop the music.” When the first one forced his tongue into my mouth while the others unzipped their pants, my mouth could only mimic the words I heard:

please
— don’t
stop

Drunk or not, part of me did not want them to stop. Uninvited visitors to my barren home of a body were, in many ways, a welcomed surprise. I did not have to beg to be wanted and it felt good.

I wonder if this is how cauliflower feels when hipsters douse her in sriracha. When she becomes desirable. She does not need sriracha but she will learn to love it if it helps them learn to love her.

— please

don’t

— stop

Last call brought lights. Lights brought sight. Sight brought shame. Shame threw me to the ground and ground became home.

Years later, I am not sure whether or not to fold down my index finger when my friend says, “never have I ever had an orgy.”

boston-based lit educator, researcher, and mixtape maker raised at the intersections of gospel and go-go. find [them] dreaming and working toward liberation.

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