Inside Cover*

The boy who assaulted me was
extremely gentle. Twenty years old,
both of us, close like twins, close like
shared blankets, bottles, and songs.

The house: silent, as all winter midnights as
every other night we’d spent there before, his arms
around me, remember dancing? play-fighting? except
now it was loud, I was loud with one thought—

I’m glad I tucked in my shirt.
Ever gently. I couldn’t (even think
to) push him off, because holding him
always made me happy.

How did I escape? They keep asking
and I can’t remember. Only his face:
hair tousled, someone’s picture of forlorn beauty.
Did he know what he’d done?

I think I stood up and left.
He leaned in to kiss me, and I shied, apologetic.

*Sensitive/upsetting content