Three poems by Cynthia Blank

I am not a silent poet

American Woman


The joke is familiar:
a girl has had too much to drink.

She lets the bottle lick her lips,
the alcohol sour her throat.

She blacks out, but not enough
to forget the invasion.

She refuses to vomit (and admit
something foreign needs extracting.)

She falls asleep in the bathtub,
scrubbing away the evidence.

She wakes up naked, dangling
over the red-hot coals of shame.

She remembers the laughter now.
She was the joke.




I have been silently screaming for seven months
trying to rid myself of the rot
building inside me.
But every time I vomit up a shot of tequila,
or cry while investigating myself in the mirror,
nothing is excised.
I am always brought back to a little white room
in which screaming, silently or not,
offers nothing but indignity.
He touched me against my will, but I prompted his…

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