karen alkalay-gut


I would probably have been okay

I mean I didn’t even know

for sure it was actually rape

until I got home and saw the blood

and nothing really hurt

except where my head

got slammed against the steering wheel

but the old stories were true:

I was damaged goods

from that very moment

There was a guy named Richie

who was nice the first day

in science lab, and sat with me on the stairs

while I blubbered away –

but he lost patience or maybe

got warned that frat boys stick together

—and suddenly switched lab partners

and never talked to me again

except to warn me that women

who cried rape could easily be turned

into whores in court.

I missed him, but I guess I understood.

Especially when all these guys

suddenly wanted to go out with me

and vanished when they learned

I could drink and drink

and never forget

the horror of touch

They probably went home

and told each other

they too

had me willingly

and I was hot

From then on my friends

were all the other social rejects,

the smart kids, the gays, the teachers.

And I never go to a class reunion

although my heart hungers

for an alma mater.




From High Maintenance