Poem: Inspired by Jim Daniels

Last week, at a campus party,

I was raped. I think.

Someone put sneakers in

the wash. The noise from

the machine is giving me a headache.

Next to me a friend is chatting on

about some guy she met. Like

he’s the best thing since the iPhone 6.

Her eyes are bright and wants me

to share in her excitement.

I woke up with

a massive headache

and fuzzy flash backs

of the night before.

Beth asks, Are you OK?

I couldn’t stop crying

in bed. Her voice shakes

as she speaks. She called

the student rape hotline.

I love the smell of

warm fabric softener.

She’s trying to get advice

from the person on the line. I love the smell

of warm fabric softener. Can’t

wait to put my jeans on straight

out of the dryer. Come on, let’s get you

dressed, she whispers angrily.

We have to get you to

the clinic. I miss my mom.

She makes the best blueberry

pancakes. Whose sneakers

are still washing? Why can’t

they stop the machine? Don’t they

know they’ll never be as clean

as before? It’s Sunday.

All of the daffodils have bloomed.

The nurse handed me a Plan B.

There is still time. Shouldn’t wait.

Swallow this, she says. I did as

I was told.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Beth says

as if it’s her fault

we’re here. In this exam room. I want

to crawl so far into hole, but I have laundry.

So much laundry.

Some guys are telling Yo Mamma jokes

and everyone laughs. I fold my sheets

into perfect squares. Outside the window

the quad is a sea of yellow. Wonder

if I’d get into trouble if I picked one? How much

money do I have? I could use some

coffee. Yo mamma is so fat, that

when she sits around the house, she

sits arrrrooounnnd the house.

That nurse was nice. I read the

pamphlets she gave me,

but couldn’t make sense of the words.

You’ll be Ok.

Beth said and she hugged me.

The hotline advised counseling.

They also advise going to campus police—

Talking, talking, talking.

Maybe, I said

Don’t think I’m ready yet.

I’ll be Ok, I smile.

I was lying.

I finish folding.

My phone rings. Everyone’s laughing.

Hi, Mom.


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