I never predicted my hair would be in the fist
of a man who collected pieces of me as souvenirs,
had a shrine with my underwear, my childhood videos;
never thought I’d live in a sick man’s fantasy—
so real that he felt he had to kill it; never
imagined a stalker could be handsome,
could flinch guiltily when I argued
that parents did astonishing work fucking us up;
never envisioned a stranger could kidnap
an inner child so he becomes Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost; never prophesied
my wrists up, post-resurrection, bleeding
my shames, watching strangers recoil
as if before a witch.
In some places, girls are made to marry their rapists.
This used to strike me as barbaric, until
a man broke into my apartment and raped me.
I imagine our marriage bed the same way
a rash of suicidal thoughts migrate across my flesh
like a flock of crows. What difference would it make?
My bed is my coffin now; a corpse bride.
If another man were to ever reach for me,
my rapist will be there as maggots in my heart.
If I ever sleep next to a man again, my rapist
will be there as my trust clenched into a fist,
wondering if he’ll kill me in my sleep.
I’ve finally learned the secret to make a man happy:
die for his desire, keep breathing, and die again.
Anne Champion is the author of She Saints & Holy Profanities (Quarterly West, 2019), The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), Book of Levitations (Trembling Pillow Press, 2019), Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her work appears in Verse Daily, diode, Tupelo Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Salamander, New South, Redivider, PANK Magazine, and elsewhere. She was a 2009 Academy of American Poets Prize recipient, a 2016 Best of the Net winner, and a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant recipient.