On having sex for the first time after a rape, by Elaine Schleiffer

I am not a silent poet

I have no home to take you to.
I nest in a small corner of an ill-lit monstrosity;
the hallways are brown with rot, the kitchen
overrun by pests and mould.
I could bring you here, up the dark stairs,
and your hand in mine might steady me but
the bed I offer is bloodied,
dried stiff with memory. We might
flip the mattress, and the sight of
your back bent to the weight
would make me wet for the work of you;
but the old wounds would seep through and
we would both be stained.
The salt of your body to me is of violence
and not the heated joy of lust.
Where can I be but here? There is no path
that stays stable in a mudded swamp.
I am safe only when silent in this place
where all my secrets are housed,
where the mire will riseā€¦

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