Sestina That Never Gave You Consent to Read Her, But Here You Are Anyway

All it should take is one essay about rape
jokes and how much men love
to hate women. All it should take is one-
thousand misogynist comments.
All it should take is a soft, shy Please
don’t, a just loud enough for you to hear No

for some guy to stop ripping your clothes off, but that’s not
really how it works, is it? Just sit back and get raped
because, hey girl, use your imagination, close your eyes and it’s pleasing.
Have a sense of humor. Love
the skin you’re in and don’t make a comment
otherwise. Look, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re the one

who’s being watched out for. You’re just the one
he wants to watch undress. No
panties, no bra, no boundaries. Not even a blind man
could resist. Not even a priest could save himself from raping
your face. This is the price you pay for being a woman, for being loved
so much you can’t sit untouched. For being so good at pleasing

his penis. God made you that way you know, just for a man’s pleasure
and procreation. It just fits. Put this thing into that one.
So snug, what’s not to love?
Doesn’t matter if you asked for it, you wanted it and you know
it. Skirts like that are worn to be taken off. What’s all this rape
talk? You can’t prove it. Your body is meant

for consent. Your mouth isn’t made for comment.
Men can use it for much more pleasurable
things. Things. Get it?? Isn’t rape
a fucking riot! So funny you should try it. Come on, just this once.
You’ll cum and you know
it. You’re gonna love

it when I shove it. But, really, love
has nothing to do with it. Wait, I withdraw that comment.
I love myself enough to hate you. Not to date you. Just to rape you. You know
how it is. It’s just business. It’s just pleasure.
Rape is not exactly something one
can measure with a stick (unlike my dick). Rape

off-limits? In bad taste? Please. Rape is one of the funniest jokes you can make!
People love it. How do I like it? No condoms. Have I ever been raped? No Comment.



I Dream I Am the Girl Who Discovers Her Body

                             -after Mary Sybist

shackled to the earth by burnt
kudzu, coiled around what was left of her bones,

stained by a scorched stickiness
I could not scrape with the knife from my pocket--

that I am the girl whose spade
stabbed (a sound like stopping too swiftly in sand)

the dirt beside her toothpick fingers--
the girl who kept digging, separating, kept collecting

her smaller pieces
to dream up a way to redraw her anatomy,

to reform her person
into something greater, reforge her bones

to build something
stronger, a frame that would better protect her

from the man who took her--
I dream I am the girl who rewrites history,

who brings her, ethereal,
back to a family long questioning an empty

grave under an even emptier
sky--I dream but I wake with the weight

of her thumb ring wrapped tightly
around my pinkie, the only piece of her left we know

is unbroken.



You, an apparition that grows
more tangible with time. You, the scent
of wintergreen tobacco
between your teeth. You reformed
and now no sin slips
from your tongue. You, a body
like a temple, a hollow
prayer. You, my demon
unexorcised, resurrect
my most buried memories. You,
always washing your hands in holy
water, anointing every forehead
with palm prints of oil. You, a man
calling a god over and over,
hearing nothing but the dialtone.


Heather Cox founded and edits Ghost Ocean Magazine and the chapbook press Tree Light Books. Heather's work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, Mid-American Review (Editors’ Choice, 2012 Fineline Competition), Used Furniture Review, Toad Suck Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and Midwestern Gothic, among other journals. Heather’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her chapbook Dream Seller was a 2012 Strange Machine Books finalist. Heather lives in Chicago with her partner and their two dogs and spends her spare time wishing the Dallas Cowboys were better.