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August 27, 2018 Poetry

On Pussy

Anna Claire Hodge

On Pussy photo

Twice, my friend was flashed 
as a child. The first, a trench coat 
thrown open. Years later, a man 
jerked himself and stared at her 
from a parked box Chevy. I have to wonder
she said. What was it about me? 

                      *

I perched on his leather couch 
as my therapist assured me I wouldn’t
be single, sad, and drunk forever 
but rather, my friends’ husbands 
would want to fuck me, that I’d write books 
in France. Then, that he prefers his women 
a little chubby. Ask me if this felt like 
revelation. Ask if I kept going back.

                             *

When the Italian man opened the door
of his Fiat to drop me off that morning, 
we were still blocks from my pension. 
Are you mad at me? he asked, then didn’t 
wait to hear the answer. The other girls 
on study abroad found me crying 
in the bathroom. For years, I called
it rape when it wasn’t. 

                             *

Most nights, my sister Betsey churns 
her sheets into a gyre, screams into the dark 
of her bedroom, and thrashes against 
some unnamed terror. She hates 
being touched, cowers from older men.
Do you think you were molested? I ask. 
She shrugs. Probably. 

                       *

The married man paused 
at the hotel door before leaving 
and turned to see my body, a small hill 
of blankets in the dark. Don’t be too hard 
on yourself I said, and the door clicked shut. 
 

image: Aaron Burch


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