Flowers On Graves

Trigger Warning

Lunch is buffet style today.
Every conversation topic consumable.
She talks of God.
I talk of rape.
She talks of signs.
I talk of flowers.
She asks about my love life.
I tell her about the best sex of my life.
She pauses.
Rape and flowers do not mix well on her plate.
Like, how do you do that after everything? Is it hard?
I do not think she intended the pun.
I do not think she is used to seeing roots in the sun.
I think of last night.
How the back injury I got from the rape flared up again during sex and for a moment.
I was not there.
I wonder if my lover noticed me time travel.
I wonder if my skin turned translucent.
I wonder if it collapsed in on its hollow self.
Over a year later and my rapist still has a hold on me.
Over a year later and I still manage to hold my lover tighter.
I do not know how a thing becomes whole again.
Only that it happens slowly.
It happens when I go shopping for lingerie.
When a new lover is all I can think about and there is no room left for flashbacks.
When I take ten selfies in black lace.
Keep them all for myself.
I keep parts of myself for me now.
But I’ve put myself out there.
Dared to fall.
To try and have it all.
I do not know why they say sex is a give and take.
That implies I am being emptied and refilled.
When I can only offer overflow.
I am slowly unlearning pain disguised as pleasure.
Suck it up.
Is not something I allow myself to do anymore.
His orgasm is not the end all be all.
My body is no buffet.
There are limits on what he can eat.
My mouth is both flower and bouncer.
Rejecting gluttony.
Savoring my limited pollen and honey.
Taste me when you know what it takes to get wet with a war in the back of my head.
But slowly.
Oh, so slowly
My bed has become mine again.
What magic.
For nails to become soft.
For a lover to become a victory song.
What magic.
To be having the best sex of my life a year after I was raped.
To witness flowers growing on graves.
I say.
God is hope.
And god I hope wholeness waits in some buffet a year from today.
I pray for flowers that come back every year.
I pray for friends that listen to it all.
I pray for the fall.
No matter who catches.
The point is that I jumped.
That this fear is not a rule.
Only a suggestion.
And I decide when I take it.

Talia is a poet and author who performs in the Philadelphia area.

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