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Three Poems by Kira Coleman

by Kira Coleman


There are nights when I stand under the

shower head feeling the hot water expand

my hair and wondering if you knew what

you were doing, if anyone had explained

to you what rape is or why it’s bad, if

maybe somebody in your life had told you

that if your girlfriend isn’t putting out, you

have to take action.

I remember my uncomfortable little laughs

when you said that one couple who always

paused making out on the grass in front of

the school to say hi to us must be having

sex, that dating for too long without it was

a bad sign. When you said that our friends

who weren’t probably weren’t really

in love.

When I told my dad years after the fact, he

said that what you did was clearly wrong because

we’d never had sex before. I tried frantically

to remember if I’d let you touch me through

my pants in your car in the Whole Foods

parking lot before or after I’d woken up to

your fingers inside me, wondering if somehow

you’d really thought it was okay or


But then I remember that if you’d thought it

was okay, if you’d really believed I wanted

your fingers there, you wouldn’t have had to

wait until I fell asleep, wouldn’t have had to

make me promise not to hold one mistake

against you, to threaten me with the idea

of being an unforgiving type of person, to

wipe the tears off of my face and make me

swear I’d never mention it again.


Tergiversation & My Mother

What didn’t happen was Cody from next door

when I was ten and he was fourteen.

But anyways, when my brother was potty training

he liked to grin and admit that the wet spots on the

carpet came from his penis. I didn’t have a penis,

but whatever I did have was a bad word.

My mom got mad a lot. Once when we were kids,

she stormed into the room and pulled the blanket

off of my brother and me. When she didn’t find what

she was looking for, she walked out in silence.

We didn’t know what she was looking for.

She yelled at me for letting Cody from next door in

to the basement when she wasn’t home. I just didn’t

want to be rude. She didn’t believe me that he didn’t

“do anything”.

I didn’t know what she thought he might have done.

What did happen was falling asleep during the movie

and waking up to dirty fingers inside me

when my boyfriend and I were both seventeen.

My mom wanted to know what I did that made him think

he could do that.

I don’t think I even knew that he could do that.


All You Need to Know

My dad’s fifth grade teacher once threw him

over three rows of desks because he wouldn’t stop

reading in class. As a kid, this was one of my

favorite stories and one that I didn’t understand

him refusing to tell when I asked him to at

dinner parties.

In college I sometimes told stories that felt

relevant and didn’t realize they were fucked up

until they’d already made it out of my mouth and

nobody laughed. Like me at two years old spending

hours upon hours laying out my dad’s books on

the living room couch and then “buying” them

and returning them to their places on the


Last night when you said you’re not sure how

best to sit on a giant sectional, I bit my

tongue on my first thought, which was that I

was raped on a giant sectional. And then I

just kept thinking about it because I

didn’t say it, and having to hold it in felt


And that’s probably all you need to know

about me.


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