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  • from JULIET (II)
  • Sarah Xerta (bio)

Then one Sunday afternoon in July you read a story about a woman who was raped by a man she thought was her friend, a man she thought was kind, a man she thought she might like to love, and you have heard the word rape before, and you remember how when you were little you thought it meant to have sex with someone, and you wonder where you got that idea, what your parents told you when you said that, where anyone got that idea, where did he get that idea, that you were something different than a person, that a woman is different than a person, a different kind of person, that a person is a door you can break into, that a person is meant for you to enter it [even though I do feel like a sort of cave, I am so hollowed out with sorrow], and you sit in your t-shirt and underwear and read this story three times and think about violence, his voice that you haven’t figured out how to describe but every time you think about it you see him with his black hair screaming across the sky of your brain, you see him with his black hair, you see him and you wonder why the sky doesn’t have more holes in it, how that blue stays so blue, the clouds passing through like the sweet sheep that they are, passive because they have to be, like the girl in the story had to be, how her body and brain went dead just to get it over with, so he wouldn’t hit her, so he wouldn’t hit you, and no he never hit you, he made sure to point this out to you over and over again and you said yes yes you are right I am so sorry.

You force yourself up out of the mess you are. For some reason you are determined to want to want to live. You are determined to unearth your dead body, dig your dead heart out of his throat. You go to the store to buy tools. Your gums are bloody but nobody notices. They are too busy looking at your ass. They are too busy comparing their own asses to your ass. You buy a bouquet of white lilies, your mouth full of blood, and nobody notices that you have been raped. This makes you wonder if maybe you haven’t been raped. Maybe you made it [End Page 261] up. Maybe you really are nothing but a slut. Cunt. Whore. After all he did call you that. After all sometimes you liked it.

You can’t decide if you are dead or alive and decide you don’t want to be either. You decide it doesn’t matter. You just want to give birth, to empty yourself of a body. And so there you are, squatting in the middle of the street in the city, pushing everything you don’t want to know out between your legs:

            splintered wood                    your father’s voice                            crystal shattered against your mother’s cheeksneedles, knives, your ex-fiancé as a child.He drowns in your vaginal fluids.You drink your vaginal fluids.You give birth to your ex-fiancé as a man.You give birth to his rage.You give birth to his mother.You give birth to her mother.You give birth to all the sorrow laced in their bonesand now you’ve got an ocean gushing out between your legs.Your ex-fiancé shits all over everything and of course you give birth to that too.You are an unstoppable woman.You hold every shitty birth to your chest until it grows big enough to leave you,because every birth will leave you, taking its sweet time to skin you alive.You keep giving birth until all your thoughts are stillborn.You give birth to a dead horse and you know it is time to go home.You give birth to another dead horse and you know it is time to go home.You give birth to another dead horse and...


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pp. 261-263
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