I Regret Letting You Touch My Body

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The first time he touched me,
I felt a stampede of wild horses
and I thought,
maybe,
Mufasa had it wrong,
maybe,
being trampled to death
isn’t so bad.

The first time he touched me,
I held my breath
as he moved his hands to my neck
and I learned what it means
to not breathe.

Maybe it’s okay.
I cry on the car ride home.
Maybe this is what they do
now.

I am awake at 7 am on a Sunday
and this isn’t routine.
My mother calls and says,
“Pumpkin, you are so strong!”
And I want to come undone.
I want to tell her I have
left my roots
and I don’t remember how it feels
to be held with care,
to be held with caution.

It is a year later before I tell a friend
and she describes it as
abuse.

I don’t tell anyone else.
I want to be in charge
of how this story goes.
I want to be in charge
of the words used.

Sometimes, when I’m asleep,
he still touches me.
Until I wake up
and I am far away,
and I know
he can’t touch me.

I fall asleep on the porch listening to
cicadas sing
and tell me
it will be okay.

One day, it will be okay.

Tonight, the song is soft
and the trauma is hard.

But it won’t always be that way.

Right?

It won’t always be that way. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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