Our Joy is All We Have to Fight With

I bite my tongue every time a man calls sexual assault victims “liars.”

This is not a metaphor.

I have literally been spitting out blood

ever since men learned how to speak.

When the sun sets

you are all the men in dark alleys

I was warned about.

Somedays you lurk in the concrete and street

lights of my own bed.

 

I keep having the same nightmare.  

Here, men listen to me like they do in waking hours

which is to say they don’t.

 

Once, I was drunk at a high school party

and a boy said he would kiss me if he didn’t

respect my boyfriend so much.

 

Once, I was drunk at a high school party

and I did not have a boyfriend

so the boy did not ask.

 

I have journeyed to the edges of myself and back

to satisfy insatiable men.

Here is to all the hours I have spent

crying to nobody.

Men don’t seem to understand that the messes they leave
do not magically disappear.

I am tired of cleaning up both dirty laundry on the floor

and the pieces of myself men have decided were inconvenient.

 

To be human is to take up space.

To be woman is to be more than the times I’ve said yes.

I mean, when I am not there for your consumption,
I still exist.

 

Today, my presence is bull in a china shop

and I am embracing every shatter.

I am every time I was told to be quiet

but I have forgotten how to take commands.

I am so tempted to believe in a world where I am not afraid

that today, just for a minute, I am not.

 

Years ago, a man sucked the word “no”

from my mouth, and hid it in today.

As in, I just re-learned my own self worth.

 

I will be an interruption of this tragedy.

Our joy is all we have to fight with

so lets be so happy

lets own our own bodies

so damn loud

we drown out the ignorance

with all this freedom.

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