He broke into me-
never charged with forced entry,
and no one sees the bruise prints
the scratch marks on my spirit-
these don’t make police reports.
The dignity missing from my step
doesn’t qualify as physical evidence.
I shake when I see him.
Only my homegirls seem to notice.
His boys’ mantra is lying bitch.
They mutter it with machete-sharp eyes,
occasionally one rouses himself to say it
and for the first time,
I see these men not as men
but terrorists in training, camouflaged
bombers on the ground floor of truth
taking dynamite to tis foundation.
I see myself as a prisoner of war.
An exile, a survivor.
I wish this wasn’t my story
but it it is,
a million times over,
and just when I think it has gone away
it reappears at my doorstep
in another woman’s face
or on the ten o’clock news
and although I have loved men since,
maybe another sister can’t,
so this our story
and it will be ours
until we don’t have to claim it anymore,
until women from Brooklyn to Oakland to South Africa
can sit back in amazement and say
I can’t believe such things ever occurred
until the word rape
can be wiped out from vocabularies,
stamped out of our memories.
Until then, this will be our story
and wounded eyes will tell it
even when we don’t.
Copyright © 2011 by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie published by permission of poet; and previously published in Listen Up! and Karma’s Footsteps
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