ENOUGH: Here Lies Another Woman

By

ENOUGH is a Rumpus series devoted to creating a dedicated space for essays, poetry, fiction, comics, and artwork by women and non-binary people that engage with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

The series runs every Tuesday afternoon. Each week we will highlight different voices and stories.

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from outside voices, please
Valerie Hsiung

Just like that it all disappeared. All of it. But I stayed, we stayed, we never went away.

 

It’d be interesting to re-do the whole thing but from her perspective…

Now I think of all the things. Of all the men who didn’t take. I can count them all.

 

See— she’s crying of freedom now as the sun ignites the woods.

A shame it’d be to waste such a fine talent…

 

{ … }

 

                   When she entered the United States a male immigration doctor
undressed her
                      without the presence of a nurse or translator somebody to act as a tarp or barrier and he groped her breasts under the guise of examination and then whispered something about the Chinese and small pox

 

                    :  Something’s off : My life has been this collection, this decoction of… : but I will be, I will be there to get
                        you the—  : In the opening of a day I’d read your pulse and then our one note dusk
            would wash our faces off : Let me understand more of— : And then you know

And then you know sometimes when we stayed out late it was fine, but then, but then, when I was at my father’s…

                      In which we lay down the root we never completely retrieved

                                                            : I’d get the pulpit

 

                                               : Traveled this way, say, say
                                                            goodnight to you

 

{ … }

 

                                                                         I wonder too—

what slurs
what variations—
             of
what slurs—
             each new elbow jostling against me now has used
                       under whose breath and
                                   to whom

                                                                                     I’m writing their eulogies now

                                                their political ads

                                                            You’re in charge of spiking the coronation wine

                                   Who here isn’t already familiar with their arguments with their edible arrangements with this line of questioning

then you know

then you know
            that you might as well close your eyes fix yourself stop counting

                                                                       —yes your heart is still beating yes you have a heart—

                                    and we are indebted to your service

                                    and I’m truly sorry we could not come to an agreement

 

 

Why should we trust this man? He is an abuser of women. After so many years
considering whether or not to confront her abuser, she schedules a therapy session with the only Asian female psychologist specializing in PTSD/trauma in her metro area. She fills out the contact box and then forgets to followup.

*

nice guy falls in love at the coffee shop with woman playing hard to get
Marissa Johnson

I know I know / I look like all the other sad girls right / you probably can’t tell the difference / between sad and angry anyway / honestly sometimes I can’t either / both are a throat closing / maybe I am choking on an unexpected grape seed / a poorly swallowed sip of water / I cough up nos / and that is not personal / I just like to keep my distance from beings like you / you know the ones with hungry hands / you know the ones for whom even my blood / wouldn’t be enough / haha yes I am sorry / I can be a bit hysterical / I just can’t help it / I am sorry I mistook your advances / for my death rattle / truly / my mistake / I know / I must resemble a portrait of a woman somewhere / do we even exist / if we cannot be pinned lifeless to canvas / do we even exist / if not through the gaze of a man / like you / that is right yes / you are not all men / you just look like every man / who’s put The Fear in me / my eyes didn’t mean to be mirrors / they just can’t help but see the resemblance / don’t call me Medusa / please I don’t deserve the compliment / yes I have a hard time sleeping / how did you know / did you see the way my bones look like faded wallpaper / tell me what is your favorite movie / is it the one with the manic pixie dream girl / or the one where you can’t remember her name / because all the bullets sounded better / what? oh I just get quiet / when I am scared / you strike me as the type who likes irony / like talking to a woman / you think of as a girl / a woman / a girl / who doesn’t want to be talked to / yes I would love to read your poetry / I bet you love a good muse / a wife who is not yet a wife / a dove with a broken wing / that is really tender / you probably wrote something like / ‘love her by letting her be free’ / you are so generous / I hope each of your 300K followers pat you on the back / for being a good example / oh and you have a house / car / job / too wow I really should throw myself at you / it’s just that I have never trusted anyone / to catch me / it’s just that I have a fear / of living on my  hands and knees / how did you know / my footsteps away from you / were a cry for you to come running after me / I know we are so confusing / I know a neck is just so good for breaking / I know you make me a doe / a deer / a female deer / I know you just can’t help it / I am just so beautiful / I know I know I am such a bitch / I know you didn’t mean it / it’s just that your frame / it’s just that your entire being / is a hunt / a haunt / it’s okay / I know / you are not going to kill me / I am already something dead to you

*

In the Turn
Gabrielle Brant Freeman

Van Halen’s “Panama” is not at all about Panama.
It’s about a race car or a stripper, or a race car and
a stripper, but either way, there’s nothing about the country
in the song, and that’s appropriate because “Panama”
was released in 1984, the year Orwell wrote we would all
be convinced that what we knew to be true was wrong.

In the bridge, you can hear the throaty twelve cylinder engine
of Eddie Van Halen’s 1972 Lamborghini Miura S rev deep.
I spot a Lamborghini on the road and my son thinks I’m cool
for a hot minute. The Miura is named after the line of
Spanish fighting bull bred to fight men armed with lances
in rings studded with humans coveting blood.

Heat comes off of it. And oh, we throw roses.
We throw roses at their feet. I can barely see.

Ferdinand the bull snuffles flowers to his gentle nose, his breath
warm against a girl’s hand. Balboa hacks his way up a mountain,
sees an ocean no one he considers to be a person has ever seen before,
claims it all in the name of the Blessed Virgin and King Ferdinand II
of Spain. Claims its discovery, carves a symbol of his religion
into a tree with his conquering sword. Balboa dismantles

entire ships, has them carried across Panama to the Pacific. Re-
assembled. I own this ocean. There was no stopping them.
Imagine Balboa explaining ownership to the caciques. You hold
no power. Bow to your King across the sea. A man tells his wife
what she remembers is wrong. And isn’t your memory bad
anyway? And aren’t you aways so emotional? Let’s look at this

logically. In 1908, one of Balboa’s anchors is found
in the middle of the Panamanian jungle.

An anchor lost in the middle of the jungle is a reminder
of the fact that I dismantled my life and moved. For love. For
you. An anchor in the middle of the jungle is an iron reminder.
You gird yourself in armor. You hold a standard depicting
the Holy Mother high. Wade in the water waist high.
The US expands a railroad built by the French across

the isthmus of Panama. They want to shorten a shipping route,
so they cut across a continent. You want to shorten the argument,
shorten the time it takes to address the problem. Gut
through the subject, wave your shiny cape and jab, jab,
jab until I weaken just enough to believe. You may be right.
The Lamborghini Murciélago is named after a bull whose life was spared

by the matador after surviving twenty-four sword strokes. The wife lives
despite sharp sticks in her back with flags that dance. The key is not to die.

Feruccio Lamborghini began naming his cars after bulls
after touring the Miura ranch, and also he was a Taurus
who are known for being particular and hard working.
My father was a Taurus and particular about things like heirlooms and
grades, and he put bags on planes for 35 years and then he
shot himself in his bathroom with an antique pistol.

From him, I learned how to change the oil and how to change a tire, but not
how to change my course once I started and not how to stand up
for myself and speak my mind. I learned how to drown out my anger with
the roar of an engine and an open road. Murciélago survived,
and sometimes, so does the wife, but not always. 401 years after
Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean for Spain, the Panama Canal opened.

I have lost my taste for the gradual weakening, for the

quick death. I lower my head. I paw at the ground.

*

spitting distance
Jessica Lawson

inside every angry man is a loving man. inside every loaded canister of axe brand body spray is an unmet child’s yearning for knitting needles and piano lessons. inside every unsolicited dickpic is well okay a series of poorly moderated forums that demand my pussy as toll for the troll’s bridge of a swift doxx but inside some of those i am promised there is a room full of soft puppies & sunshine & delicate feelings. give them a chance. it only hurts for a minute.

blue pills armed with erections and red pills harmed by rejections put my ass between a rock and a hard place. smile and walk faster. the way out is through // the way to a man’s heart is through his appetite // the way to a man’s belly is his teeth  // the way to stomach his mouth / and all it’s hurling at you / is to coat yourself along his digestive tract as a lining against abrasion because he isn’t built for the kind of truth only one of you has learned to swallow.

body brand. axe spray. bleeding everywhere.

inside every curse / is a wish / is a weapon / is the internet / is someone’s tired mother / is a baby grand / is a lonely boy / is a nice guy / is a deeply felt philanthropic urge to raise public awareness on the senseless tragedy of dumpster placement. think how many promising futures. think of the puppies.

prove to him women are more than meat curtained grudges. it is my fault he does not know.

i make myself ready to love. i soften my phrases and lay down my arms and remember to look for the good man flannery told me was out here. make peace with our faults before the rest. my makeup routine includes texting a friend so she can find me if i am murdered later.

*

Here Lies
Gina Keplinger

another woman, struck down
for saying no, enough flint in
her decision to set a boy
on fire. Here lies another
woman, her body small,
handful of coal inside a casket,
her body, tentative as children
waving sparklers in summertime.

Here lies another woman,
in this cemetery of headlines,
she is far from front page
news. She is thin as smoke
signals, wafting from obituary pages,
stretching tall to set off fire alarms,
making home owners search
for the source of her siren, causing them
pause, watching them run their
fat unworried thumbs
over her dead girl name.

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Rumpus original logo art by Luna Adler.

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ENOUGH is a Rumpus original series devoted to creating a dedicated space for work by women and non-binary people that engages with rape culture, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We believe that while this subject matter is especially timely now, it is also timeless. We want to make sure that this conversation doesn’t stop—not until our laws and societal norms reflect real change. You can submit to ENOUGH here.

Many names appearing in these stories have been changed.

Visit the archives here.