To the boy from seventh grade,
I don’t know if you remember…
and touching me,
and running your hands along my hips.
or maybe how you whispered for me to,
BE QUIET ,
while all the reasons I wasn’t beautiful dripped
like slurred poison from your lips.
“Emma you are fat.”
“Emma you are ugly.”
“Emma you are flat.”
“Emma how could anyone even look at you?”
I stood there silent,
feeling the increasing weight of my bones
press into my shoes.
The unfortunate optimism of the Suffield public school system
taught all about the dangers,
of men with candy in white vans,
but failed to arm us against the boys
who we grew up on the playground with.
I was twelve.
I think parts of me broke in all the places they were supposed to be growing.
I haven’t been back to that english class.
I am too afraid my pieces are still littered across the blue tile,
too scared I might run into some fragmented composition of the eyes,
of the girl I was before room 221.
I don’t think she would be very proud of me.
It’s been years.
I should really get over it right?
I’m sure you never had trouble sleeping
all the nights I lied awake because
I could still feel you,
and hear you.
My head, a broken record,
you were the only track that played at that hour.
You’ve probably indulged in your ability to forget
the way my pleading voice fractured,
“Stop it please.”
I don’t think boys like you understand what happens
to the words you breathe into us
at times when you are holding onto us.
They echoed through the empty chasms that burned through me,
at everyplace you ran your fingers,
in slow circles across my skin.
They spun themselves through my ribs
until they were bound so tightly,
I stopped feeling my own heart beat.
So constricted in its’ cage,
like an newly captive animal it soon tired itself of screaming for its release,
and just lied down.
Words that I remembered with many boys after you.
BE QUIET when he tells you you have beautiful “******* eyes.”
BE QUIET when he tells you your “No.” has made you “useless.”
BE QUIET when he raises his hand and tells you to sit
before he brings it down across your face.
Emma, cry quietly when you realize
they only see beauty in the things they can take from you.
And I let them,
and watched as the fabric of my skin
frayed under my fingernails.
I’ve found myself one to many times
trying to scrub the blood left remnant, from my unwinding
out from underneath them.
I am done.
It’s time for me to take myself back.
I am going to make the shreds that you left at my feet
far more beautiful than anything you took from me,
and this time,
I’m going to hold on.
I never want my little sister to be told to BE QUIET.
I will not BE QUIET anymore.
I will not BE QUIET because I will not let these eyes be reduced
to the way they look when I am on my knees
or the way these hips curve when they are underneath your hands.
I will not BE QUIET because there are other girls who are scared
in classrooms and dimly lit street corners.
I will not BE QUIET because this noise is powerful.
I will not BE QUIET because if your voice created echoes
mine will create earthquakes.
I will not BE QUIET because I am lucky that you never got the chance
to do anything more to me
because I have held the shaking hands of a girl ***** in a closet,
while she told me she doesn't want to live anymore.
I will not BE QUIET because there are millions of stories like her’s.
millions of girls who are silenced with justice left unserved.
Having a voice is a privilege,
hard fought and deserved.
Dear boy from seventh grade,
be prepared to face the noise.
I will not BE QUIET anymore.