A WOMAN'S WAR, A HOLY WAR:

THE POLITICS OF RAPE AND ANGER

Mia Miranda Mesa

I didn’t ask for this violence

 

or to carry original sin on my shoulders 

I used to say my hail marys 

I don't anymore 

but the guilt never really leaves 

does it 

only hardens and cracks 

and splinters my flesh

 

I used to be a better woman 

but war got in the way 

what did you think would happen

 

my body another synonym for mass 

another altar to dig your knee into 

a mound where roots go to die 

the blood of christ 

the willpower of a woman 

who ate the apple anyway

 

a spilled glass of pinot noir 

a single file of ants into a ripe pomegranate 

the same seeds hades forced down persephone’s throat 

girls are told to swallow 

spring is an antonym for rape

what did you think would happen

 

my mouth a slash 

a bruise

a wound 

a dead autumn leaf

 

I used to be a better woman

without a scream 

or a fist in my ribcage 

what did you think would happen

 

I never wanted a war 

you made me martyr

turned me monster 

helen launched a thousand ships 

medusa could have sunk them all 

we never wanted war 

but now it is holy

 

I am my mother 

her rape is mine 

I carry it like an ache

in my teeth 

 

demeter is a mother 

the same way that I am a daughter

a throat lodged with pomegranate seeds

my body a home 

a summer

for anyone but me

 

women aren’t carnivores 

but skin is tender

and we can’t live on seeds alone

 

what did you think would happen 

 

I didn’t want to write this because 

then it is real 

then you can trace my scars back

to a reliable narrator

to broken milk jugs

and cracked heels

to the exact moment my body

was not a body

but the site of a war crime

 

and what did you think would happen

 

girls are told to swallow

winter is a mother’s wound

I didn’t want war 

I told you 

once I write this it is real

 

I spit, I spit, I spit 

 

I didn’t start this war

but no one else knows how to finish it

 

what did I think would happen?