Unintended Consequences of a Sexual Assault

I can no longer tolerate football. It’s like an allergy. I need to turn it off, leave the room immediately. This makes dating especially difficult in my stomping ground of New England #patsnation. Police stations have become the graveyard to my past. Memories quick to surface, bile rising every time I drive past one in a foreign town. I roll down the window for new air, breathe deep, and turn the radio loud. The Princess Bride, once beloved, is wrapped in crime scene tape and locked away in evidence. The box is caked in dust from a decade of neglect and I have no intention of taking it down from the tallest shelf. Your name has a vice grip around my heart. One mention and yup, there it goes, the squeeze. Unrelenting and unpredictable. No one can know how just the mention of your name can stop my feet in the middle of midday traffic. That’s okay, I’ll just take the couch. It’s true, I have intimacy issues. I can’t sleep next to you. I found one person in a decade I could stand to sleep next to overnight. The odds aren’t good for finding a second. So I rescued a cat. My relationship with my mother is ruined. So many years flown past in the rearview and there are no signs of repair. She still thinks you need proof for there to be a victim. She still thinks she was the victim by surprise.

Aimee Nicole is a queer poet currently residing in Rhode Island. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Roger Williams University and has been published by the Red Booth Review, Psychic Meatloaf, and Dying Dahlia Review, among others. For fun, she enjoys attending roller derby bouts and trying desperately to win at drag bingo.

Artwork (“Hana Jo”) by Steff Crabtree, a mixed media artist who lives in Kansas City, Missouri and currently works at Imagine That!, a teaching-arts studio in the KC Crossroads that supports adult with disabilities.