The detective said, he groomed you. The sexual assault counsellor said, he groomed you. My friend J said, he groomed you. My friend M said, he groomed you. My lawyer said, he groomed you. My psychiatrist said, you were extremely vulnerable. I said, I am a mature woman. I have a doctorate. I am surrounded by decent people amongst whom I live a safe and productive life. They said again, he groomed you.
I look at her face in the mirror. Sucked in, I tell her. I watch her cry. You are groomable, I tell her. That thing you thought could only happen to children?
This acute phase, the counsellor tells me, usually lasts about three months. We are speaking about my erratic sleep patterns, my inability to make decisions, my new habit of sitting frozen in place while I try to think of what to do next.
I don’t like this vulnerability. I don’t like having missed all the red flags. I don’t like being someone who didn’t see what was coming her way and take steps to avoid it. But here I am.
Leave me a place underground, a labyrinth,
where I can go, when I wish to turn,
without eyes, without touch,
in the void, to dumb stone,
or the finger of shadow.
I know that you cannot, no one, no thing
can deliver up that place, or that path,
but what can I do with my pitiful passions,
if they are no use, on the surface
of everyday life,
if I cannot look to survive,
except by dying, going beyond, entering
into the state, metallic and slumbering,
of primeval flame?