A Letter to My Dear and Future Lover 

 (Trigger warning: sexual abuse/violence/racism)

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This is why I’ll always flinch when you touch me.

Because at 13
in a crowded wave pool
on a sunny southern Sunday
I had to choose between drowning and biting my tongue when he slipped a hand under my bathing suit and forced two fingers inside of my body. 

Because at 15 he sold me for a pair of kicks. 

Because at 17 it wasn’t over until my blood lined the cuticles of her right hand. 

Because at 26
while at an Amanda Palmer concert the crowd gasped.
Neil Gaiman had reached inside a cherry wood box, withdrew a slip of paper and read into a microphone the anonymous words I had written there. The woman next to me turned to her friend and said “That’s rape” 

It was the first time my brain understood what my body had already known. 

Because at 27 she punched me in the pussy until I limped the next day. I’m pinned between the headboard and her body, pleading with her to stop to slow down as she confuses screams of pain for pleasure. 

Because at 28 he shoved two digits into my anus with neither adequate lube nor consent. 

 salivia on his fingers as he slobbers in my face “I’ve always wanted to fuck a black woman in the ass. Who’s a dirty girl?” 

Because at 33 he grabbed the back of my head and came down my throat while I beat his thighs with clenched fists since I was not strong enough to push away. 

He finally lets go I calmly spit
I say “no fluid exchange without consent” reminding him of the conversation we had last week, yesterday and 15 mins ago.
He freaks out so badly at his “misstep” that I spend the night comforting him
He left me with a broken bed I slept in for six months 

until D asked me what happened 

D turned ashen listening to the story told to him in nonchalant tones of cold detachment reserved for weather forecasts or morning rollcall
D went to the store
D purchased wood and nails
D fixed my bed

D left 

I stuffed a pillow in my face and screamed 

I screamed
I screamed until I ripped the metal holding my two bottom teeth aligned out of my mouth.
I stopped screaming 

I started doing push-ups
It was beneficial. 

Because at 33, when he slammed me into a wall, hands around my throat, hissed “I’m going to put a baby in your belly” I was strong enough to claw the fuck out of his face. 
No one was going to break my bed again. 

I’ll flinch when you touch me
I’ll cringe
I’ll curse
I’ll cry

But my Dear and Future Lover, I’ll let you touch me because 
She
She made me understand why the flower loves the humming bird back 

He
He was lifeline as I succumbed to la petite mort
he poured me back into myself as I constantly came undone in his arms 

They
Black with bodies abundant as all the silken river beds
Smelling of coconut oil and leather
Beat new rhythms into my heart with four fists
One hitachi
One wrist
Deep
Knocking at the tabernacle door until I opened like a cathedral singing new and holy songs 

I’ll let you touch me because three witches took me.  Covered in golden stars, moons and suns,
I was lifted by them to heaven as they wrung from me the refuse of years.
Delivered me to God who covered my mouth with Her own before hurling me back to the earth amidst howls and screams

Three witches 
Midwives and witness to the birth of a new ocean between my legs
I know how the earth was made.
But I’ll still flinch when you touch me

I’m sorry 

Four nights is not enough to put to rest 
to quiet
to lull
to smooth
to soothe
to heal
to seal a stone upon this yawning hole where my sex once was. 

It is however, enough to awaken the memory
the memory of a girl who hid bodice rippers in her satin pillow case
A girl who pulled sheets and coverlets over her head during hot as hell summer nights so Jesus wouldn’t catch her reading them and weep.
Memories of a girl who felt it when Lady Jane’s lover touched her tenderly for the first time in the moonlight.
Memories of a girl who could quote like “Water for Chocolate”, wanted to taste rose petal sauce and ride off naked on a horse with arms wrapped around the expansive waist of a revolutionary man… a yoke of bullets pressed against her breasts. 

It’s her fingers that awake me in the middle of the night
It’s her voice singing a siren song to this place I do not want to go and even though I’m screaming no I find myself at this door
My door 

Begging to be let back in
But she says I can’t go alone
My dear and future lover, 

If I run it’s not because I want you to prove your verity in chasing me
It’s because I don’t want you see to this broken home with it’s raw water damaged floors, gutted walls and blackened beams.
I don’t want you to cut yourself on sharp and shattered window glass
Shock yourself on exposed wires
Stumble on whole pieces of fallen plaster
I have been the healer of others
Reminder to those who have forgotten they are already whole 

But now 
For myself
I see…
My dear and future lover, 

I am tower and dragon and damsel three
My dear and future lover, 

This letter is map and sword and key
My dear and future lover, 

I’m ready 
Come find me.

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