a poem by Andrea Davenport, Junior Secondary English Education Major
Content Warning: Themes of Depression, Sexual Assault
I cannot shower. If I shower then I leave home
If I leave home I get lost in the voices and I can’t find my way back.
I can’t hide from the voices that nibble in my head.
The voices that scream when I lay down to bed On a pillow that harbors The Hat Man’s dream
And tiptoes into my earswhen my eyes are closed And I cannot say no. No thank you. Maybe tomorrow night.
The voices don’t like to be rejected. Their egos are fragile. If I shower then I am perpetually stuck In the cold air that gently caresses my naked body
Before it sinks its teeth into my spine and Slithers its way inside my bones without my consent. It touches me the second I leave home and I don’t like it But it won’t stop because I can’t say no because its ego is fragile
And I don’t want to make it angry. When it’s angry it hangs itself around my throat
And throws me against the bathroom tile
Grabs my wrists and fucks me hard. At least when I don’t say no it goes slow.
Then it doesn’t hurt so bad. If I shower then I stand silently In pungent bubbles that slink up my thighs. The water traces my crevices and violates the outside,
But it goes slowly. It wants to touch me. It cups my breasts and licks my goose-bump skin
Before it shoves its tongue down my throat And tells me I like it. It’s slimy and bumpy and I thought
Water was supposed to be smooth and flavorless But it’s sour and salty and stuck in my esophagus
And won’t leave because it says I like it. It says I like it but I don’t and I shouldn’t have showered
And let my feet touch the cool water that was supposed to
Clean me but only made me dirty. If I shower then I leave home And if I leave home then I can’t say no
And if I can’t say no then I’m dirty
And if I’m dirty then I need to shower. So I cannot shower and I cannot leave home
But at least I can say no because there are no more voices.