by Molly Kat
She tries to level with the word, tries to define it, tries to find a way for it to fit into her; a way to not be so broken or a way to make broken beautiful again. Today it was spelled across her forehead, carved in big red bleeding letters. Today the sky fell around her and everyone else scratched it up to rain. Today the world ended all over her, and she was stuck in one of those dreams where you can’t scream, because screaming for no reason means you’re insane… but she has a reason. It means your body is stolen. It means everything you in the book of everything that ever was disappears and is replaced with something foreign and horrible and guilty and the only synonym is theft. Only theft doesn’t cover the heartbroken, and heartbroken is too cliché, and the word just doesn’t fit, like her skin no longer fits, like the clothes start to grow baggy, and it’s weight loss and identity loss and “how can I cover up a body that’s been broken into?” The birds fly overhead and she can’t tell if they’re vultures or doves, and by birds I mean men, and by men I mean shadow-boxers. She may never be post trauma. She may never ride the fourteen alone at midnight again. She may never get past the first letter. She sits down at the solid oak table. No. She sits down on her bed. No, she doesn’t have a bed, or a solid oak table, or any furniture at all. Nothing in her life is that stable or comfortable, and she sleeps on a foam square on the floor. She sits in the dark, by the glowing screen of her dying laptop, and hopes the outlet splitter from the dollar store doesn’t start smoking until after she’s gotten this down. She writes “in April of 2005 my body was a crime scene.” She writes “in May of 2008 my body was a crime scene.” She writes, “the summer of 2011 my body is my body, my body is not my fault, my body is brown sugar, my body is burning. My body is a fist. I have never thrown the first punch. My body has never learned how to block.” She writes, “I am too much surface area, too much wind, and so much sun.” She writes, “the West Coast is burning.” She is spit and wildfire. She wears a moonstone on her middle finger for every time she was offered a diamond. She writes “colder than the dead body in the east river.” She writes, “more hallow than the well that runs dry to the center of the earth.” She writes “dear Matt. I cut my legs open with a piece of broken glass. I thought you had left something inside me. My veins burned heavy with the lead of a story I didn’t dare to look in the eyes; I rained so hard I put myself out. Dear Matt. I lay down on the double yellow lines on Lexington Avenue, not far from your house. I wanted you to finish the job. I carried the corpse of a seventeen year old inside my lungs for three years. The first time I breathed it happened again. Dear Matt, the world is a white circus tent collapsing.” She sits in the top room of City Lights Café opening books to smell their spine. She cries because there’s still something beautiful about her. She can feel it. She cries because he saw it. She cries because the world is small and painful and beautiful and she can’t pretend there’s anything more than the fights on the back of the bus. Three men followed her from the bus stop and she didn’t go for her knife, she didn’t go for the pepper spray. She went for the double yellows; she ran. She slammed the gate, locked the door, trembled up the stairs and collapsed on the foam square. She could still feel you around her neck. She writes, “the hardest part is that I’m supposed to be the victim, and I feel so much like the attacker.” She writes, “I miss the wrought iron of your smile.” She writes, “the hardest part is that the idea of being raped turns me on.”
Molly Kat is a graduate student at Binghamton University studying American Literature and Literary Theory. She has had work published in Muzzle Magazine, Pedastal Magazine, Ragazine, and several print anthologies and other literary magazines. She has work forthcoming in Foothill Poetry Journal as well as Corvus.
photo by Barnaby_S