Eve has hands like a wrecked garden: dirt caked under her fingernails, wild and vicious and thorn-covered; wild and sunstruck and crawling. She presses her palms into the grass underneath the orchards and prays a blasphemy.
This is how it goes: there is always a boy, or maybe a snake. There is a time before, with the darkness so whole and absolute it chokes, and there is a time after, with burning light and shame so heavy it puts you on your knees.
This is how it goes: your summerborn cheeks flushed but your eyes cold and barren and wintered.
This is how it goes: you are made from bones that never settled into the earth.
The apples hanging from the trees have gone nearly overripe and heavy, bending from the boughs and flushed red.
Eve has a mouth sticky-sweet and soft, a body like a rosebush in bloom.
Eve has a bird's nest of hair that calls home only vultures.
This is how it goes: there is always a hunger for more.
Eve presses her palms against the planes of her stomach, against the soft curves the moon has smoothed onto her.
Eve presses her palms into the grass and howls: "I will not bear you fruit."
“No” does not exist
“No” has been replaced with “yes”
So, every time I say “no,”
it means “yes”
This is what he told me.
I am not allowed to say “stop”
In our relationship,
“Stop” is not part of my vocabulary
This is what he told me.
“Take off your clothes”
“What did we talk about?”
“I said No”
He pushes me on the bed
and unbuckles his belt
I try to get up
but he pushes me down again
He grabs my legs
pulling me towards him
“Please stop” I whisper,
He puts his hands around my throat
I can’t breathe
“If you say the word ‘stop’ again,
I will kill you.”
I close my eyes
because I knew he wouldn’t stop.
Not until he was finished.
I lay in silence,
tears running down my face.
When he climbs on top of me
Fearing if I fight
he’ll hurt me worse.
I can smell the alcohol
on his breath as he says,
“I love you,”
He puts his hands
under my shirt
and asks, “do you love me?”
I don’t reply
He puts his hand around my throat
“I said, do you love me?”
I whisper “yes”
because my life is in his hands
He says, “your body is mine, and it belongs to me”
At the sound of his zipper
my heart sinks
I know what’s about to happen
I beg him to stop,
That if he truly loves me,
He wouldn’t do this
But my words don’t mean a thing.
I try to push him off me
but he pins me down
He rips off my clothes
and I lay there as helpless as a mouse
trapped in an eagle’s grasp
With tears streaming down my face
I cry, “please stop, please stop, please stop”
But my cries go unnoticed
He spits on his hand
and forces himself inside me
I stop fighting
because I know
what’s done is done
I stare at the empty vodka bottles on the shelf
as he penetrates my body, my mind, my spirit.
He smiled at me and said 'here, take this'
It was a happy little pill of his and it would feel bliss
I smiled and gave him a kiss saying, 'thank you baby'
But what happened next forever will drive me crazy
Next thing you know I was spinning in my head
Then he wanted to bring me to a bed
His friends walked in and wanted more
So they all called me a ‘dirty little whore’
My body was numb and I couldn’t move
I let out a scream but they didn’t approve
Everything went black but then again I woke
But to them it was nothing but a funny little joke
They locked me inside of a walk in closet
So if there was a stir I sure wouldn’t cause it
I blacked out again and woke in a different place
Treating me as if my soul were missing and my body were a case
Still I was unable to move nor speak
But he still said he loved me and kissed me on the cheek
I counted five inhumane beings on top of me moaning
One was even playfully groaning
I was disgusted and wanted it to end
But I knew that after this my mind would never mend
By now it would have been a little past three in the morning
Earlier I should have taken that adorable face as a warning
When they realized I was sobering up
They had an alibi saying they’d call this a hookup
When I could finally move my mouth again
I realized what had happened and felt heavy chest pain
They heard that I was muttering words that were incomprehensible
They saw me as nothing more than a body and that I was dispensable
They came up with a plan to hide my body in a ditch
I even heard one say, 'she deserved it, what a stupid bitch'
I hit my head when they threw me on the ground
I only saw black in front of me and around
I woke up to a woman asking if I were okay
I only said one phrase and it was that 'I was betrayed'
What happened after that is irrelevant at best
All I will say is that I was nothing but stressed
This is my story and it happened two years ago today
Nailing an image in my mind that I was a targeted prey
I know now that I hold so much more worth
And I love myself more than anything on this Earth
Just know that these words have come straight from my heart
No matter how vile and disgusting this memory is, I can never restart
So I tried to make it a poem so it seems like some kind of art.
“Just as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
You forewarned me, so I guess it was really my fault that I ended up so lonely.
We never had a reason to hang out in the first place.” You said
So I guess those past months of interest were all in my head?
“I had no idea what was going on ‘till this morning…I just wanted to make you happy…I’m sorry…”
But you couldn’t even keep your word. Never mind the things I heard.
You were unreliable from the start, but I ignored the warnings to follow my heart.
Like when you said,
“I promise he’s not a dangerous person…”
But how would you know?
You were drunk… passed out… worthless.
When he leaned in to kiss me and I said no and tried to push him away. “
You’re in my fucking house” he spat and pushed down so I couldn’t escape.
Clasped his hand over my mouth,
I couldn’t let a single word out.
Pulled down my dress and put his hand on my chest,
Until I managed to reach my hand down , Pull out my mace, then he freaked out.
I tried to wake you up, but you just mumbled and stayed slumped.
I was so scared.
And you couldn’t do anything even though you were right there.
I don’t know how I feel about redemption, how anyone can do such vile things and claim it wasn’t their true intention?
“He says he’s sorry and he didn’t mean to come off that way…” That’s fucking bullshit, I should have knocked him in his god-forsaken face.
“You’re a fucking brat. I know you hate him, but that’s my brother, and as much as you’re worth, you can’t try to act reasonably justified in tearing a family apart.”
When you said that, just know you ripped a hole in my heart.
I have a name.
No numbers. No percent signs.
Don't make me into a statistic.
Don't focus on the correlations between these pills and her bottles.
It's a point of view.
It's not our fault what you choose to see.
Two hundred and eleven scars that spell out strength
when all you hear is the regret they scream
Bracelets of lies we forge into our skin
Mine are beautiful.
You never put a number to that.
There are no statistics for the survivors.
No positive predictions that follow us
because you can't measure the blood we've spilled
and come out with the same results we did
can't classify strength by a percentage
or capture determination in any ratio
I am not 10% ambition
equal parts empathy, passion, and thrill-seeking
or 100% a fighter
I am not one out of six or three
or any other known fraction
I am one of a number unaccounted for
that stood back up and washed off the filth
clung to my pride
and continued to challenge the world.
- Graves -
Every time I pick up a pen, I think failure.
I think addicted to a blade
shackled to a bottle
captivated by little pills that hold my sanity in their capsules
But today I want to write strength.
I want to write beautiful.
I want to write go ahead and try me again
God made me more than a conqueror.
Because if dependence upon a blade makes me weak
I wonder how I ever had the strength
to get up off my knees
at the age of five
when all I wanted to do was lay down and die
I'm writing courage because even though
he defiled my body
I'm sick of writing how much I hate what I've become
sick of blaming myself for the abominations
that you and I performed
was it me
or was it you?
Did I poison your youth, too?
Did I carve regret into your skin
when you were just a little kid?
Regardless, today I carve perfection
because that's what shows in my reflection
I'll trade you shoes
but won't trade scars
because most are written on my heart
and not for one second do you deserve to have
what brought me through this pain
I hope the piece you stole from me dances on your grave.
Meanwhile, I'll be writing back my hope
that had slowly slipped away
It must have been those bottles that ruined me, right?
Not those visits I received so many times during the night?
But if finding escape through a drink makes me distorted
I wonder how I ever managed to turn
perverted kisses into defiance
and taboo touches into faith
that one day, not me, but God
would condemn you to your fate.
I'm writing forgive so I can look at you
and know that I'm the better man.
I'm writing confidence so the next one of you that comes along
will be meeting my backhand.
- Graves -
Whisper to me how bad it hurts
how much you need me to satiate your thirst
how much you need me to satisfy your growing need
I've woken up to face reality
and it knocked the breath right out of me.
It picked the lock on my sanity.
I've heard one too many lies coming from your kind of lips.
I've had one too many men decide to latch onto my hips.
And I won't have you having your way this time
I won't close my eyes and pretend that this is fine.
Let you inside me while inside I curl up and pray to die.
Show me how my body craves your touch
how your mind is propelled only by lust
how you automatically expect me to perform the slut
I'm not ready for this anymore.
Hell, I was never ready for this before.
I was not asking to be your whore.
I've tried one too many times to use my lips to please
spent one too many nights, with you, down on my knees
and I can't let you convince me that I'll like what happen next
I could not live with myself if I again failed this test.
Sir, tonight I'll have you know that we will not be having sex.
- Graves -
I wish you could know her
know her like I do
every bump, every bruise
every scar: old and new
I wish you could know what she's scared to lose.
I wish you could hear her.
hear her like I do
all her thoughts, all her dreams
all the worries her demons bring
I wish you could hear her silent screams.
I wish you could see her
see her like I do
Watch her tears. Watch her bleed.
Watch her blood into droplets bead.
I wish you could see how she fulfills her need.
I wish you could feel her
feel her like I do
her shaking hands, her broken heart
her legs once again being pried apart
I wish you could feel her innocence depart.
I wish you could heal her
heal her like I want to
Mend her memory. Mend her mind.
Help her to leave her past behind
I wish you could heal the wounds of time.
I want you to know her
know her like I do
Want you to hear her. Want you to see
passed the camouflaged mask she pretends to be
I want you to know the real me.
- Graves -