What the men leave behind

Friends make us tea

because warmth is always good.

Our mothers tell us to come home,

to get out of the city.

People who are not friends tell us

it’s not a big deal

tell us to get over it.

And sometimes friends do, too.

And then they are not friends.


Bosses calculate their empathy

based on how much our traumas

will cost them.

It is all so costly.

Inconvenient.


There is too much sorry.

Always “I don’t know what to say.”

And sometimes nothing.

And that’s okay.


Some silences are worse than others.

We know this.


Then there’s the crushing weight of smallness,

and, of course, the sadness.

The vulnerability.


There’s the before and there’s the after and

sometimes we think they are the same but

then there is the remembering.


And it is all different.


The anger where there wasn’t before.

The heartbeat in our throats.

The clenched fists.

The third eye on the nape of our necks.

How the men all look the same, anyway.


Is it still paranoia if our fear has proven rational over and over?


But then again,

isn’t this just being woman?

Isn’t this just so typical?

Isn’t the worst part that we aren’t even surprised?

That we are only surprised that it hadn’t happened

before now?


How could we forget that as long as we have our bodies,

there is always more

to be taken from us.

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