An Old Lady Told Me

An old lady told me, Every real woman
has a rape fantasy at least once in her life.
I refuse to believe her. I'm a real woman.
I've never had a rape fantasy.
I've never imagined they come at night
myself tied to a four post bed with Hermés
silk scarves, the ones with the little appropriate
they come to hurt us they come riding symbols
all over them while a faceless they called our names
man bends above me, his narrow hips pointed
right they were our neighbors at my brain.
I know that old lady thinks I dream of power,
of giving it up to someone else or having it stolen
and having that feel good. She thinks I want
distance, but where is the part about blood and fists,
my gargling with gasoline a million times?
Or the scene where they knew our names
they took hurt us hurt us we tried to be modest
we tried
I scratch his name to hide ourselves
to cover on a public bathroom wall our heads
with sheets they hurt us we ran when the bullets
the paint slicing off they buried my daughter
as easily as my skin by the trees over there ?

From THE GOSPEL OF BARBECUE (Kent State University Press, 2000)





Poems by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

An Old Lady Told Me

Unidentified Female Student, Former Slave
(Talladega College, circa 1885)