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by Anonymous


Grandpa’s fingers investigated

with precise measurements

one thousand, one hundred fifty-nine times

around the clamshell opening

of my vagina.

He was an explorer, voyager, surveyor, prospector

inside and outside, outlining the small

crevices and interstices,

exploring my female parts like jewels

in a velvet bag. He studied long and hard.

He was an expert on my vagina.

A man who wore his name on his shirt,

whose fame hung

around this neck like a guillotine,

whose fingers were stained

yellow from the daily pack of Camels

he walked a mile for - those same fingers

that explored and stroked —

those yellow, probes whose thick, textured,

nails dug and scraped new rows, new memories;

whose trembling lips would not stop

telling lies - all lies, all lies, and all lies;

whose rancid breath tickled

and stroked the back of my neck,

until the hairs stood up

and my ears screamed for mercy.


I knew my captor -

I hated him.

Yet, in the same breath, I loved him.

I wanted to please him

and I began to hate myself.

He taught me to dread

the fragrance of myself —

wearing my depression, my shame, my pain

like a silk camisole purchased at Macy’s.

Before I began to fold my own bitterness

into manageable nuggets,

painstakingly unbraiding my own

desires into emptiness,

uttering the usual predictive impossibilities,

I became invisible to everyone but him.

I learned to suck the lemon, eat the rind

to get lost – not let him find

me; try to escape

the mischief that was his due.

I wanted to become the river,

to be the sleepy,

tributary that slowly left

the lush, green valley,

meandering away silently, slowly, wordlessly

becoming nothing in an endless

water-world, flowing into the sea.

I wanted to wash the scum

of his perversion off my body

to wipe my mind clean of it.

Yet, I am ambushed again

and again. Stuck fast.

Eluding him

is an illusion,

even after the fact.


Jack frost danced

with the pane

of glass and inscribed

his delight upon it.

The pane of glass

for all the wanting, etched

intricately in gay

design was left starkly

cold; left with no

feeling after

the inscription

was set. It left

only the wanting

of his love,

but not his

loving embrace, not

the lustful wanting

of his touch and not

his amusement

at any expense.


The retch of his touch

the scrape and claw

of his nails reminds

me again and again:

eluding him

is an illusion

even after the fact.

The ragged breath

on my neck,

the rub on my bruised

nipples, gags

me - keeps me in

a limbo of wanting

and not wanting;

needing and receding

from what I must have

to free myself

from him;

from his affliction.

My self-hate mirrors the raging

river of his hot breath on my neck.

The fury of wild horses let loose

from their penned stalls,

becomes the resentment

of life lived by surviving —

not vexation, nor indignation —


hot, blinding, unsettling


and I could not

live on.

His Dying

My grandfather died on a Thursday,

his body so full of morphine he was hallucinating

dancing elephants on the ceiling and singing

“Buffalo Gals won’t you Come Out Tonight”

with the wreck of a voice that was reduced to

a toad croaking on a summer’s eve.

He suffered long with prostate cancer —

a fitting malady, in my opinion,

for his sins of the flesh,

sins visited upon my flesh

and the flesh of his various


Since he was such an asshole,

so perverse in his abuse of us,

I wanted the revenge

of a devastation

upon his body, such as the

ravage he had inflicted

upon mine.

When I saw him lying there

in that casket, I knew he could

no longer hurt me.

I stood still at the doorway, not

Able to go in, seeing him from

across the room

waiting for his death

to sink in — to be reality for me.

Mom put her hand on my back and

led me into the room and I flung

myself over his body and wept

like my life was over.

I thought the rage and the self-loathing

were over, that the memory of his touch,

his smell would dissipate. I thought

life would become a fairy tale.

I was wrong — eluding him

is an illusion, even after the fact.



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