You are 22
but you look fifteen.
Look at that skin. Those eyes.
You look innocent, they say,
leering at you over eye glasses and beer glasses,
trying to determine how your small curves
fit together beneath your dress.
You can see them trying to work out
how they can both father you and fuck you.
No wonder you still feel fragile
in the arms of men.
You are 22, a woman,
and everyone tells you to raise your voice,
to act with confidence and decisiveness.
You wonder why modesty has become a crime.
You are tired of being told to act like a man.
You are 22 and fucking him makes your head spin.
You feel like you are going to burst apart under his hands.
You feel empowered when he moans your name
but you can’t find the words to say
it hurts you when he touches you
and it hurts when he leaves.
You are voiceless, shaking,
afraid of saying that
in some ways you like the pain,
in some ways you like
his teeth on your neck.
You are 22, and supposed to be
Woman. Adult. Strong. Feminist.
But where was your voice when you had to say no?
Where were his hands when you froze underneath him?
Inside of you, splitting you between body and soul.
You are 22 and he loves you,
darling girl. He does, and you hate him.
You hate him, how he can never
touch both body and soul,
how no man has ever managed to say I love you
without your head bobbing between his legs.
You are 22,
and a man tried
to make you flesh:
his hands a cage,
his tongue the hook.
But he couldn’t keep the light
from pouring out of you
in all directions.
Lucia Akard is a 22 year old student of history and lover of all things magical, romantic, and medieval. She grew up in California and on Long Island, and most of her poetry is written from her beach chair, facing the Atlantic and under the shade of a ridiculous straw hat. She is attending graduate school at the University of Oxford, where she will be researching rape culture in the Middle Ages. Her writing can be found on her blog, lucia-writes.tumblr.com.