Lydia Havens "frequency of light"

 PC: Rebecca Robinson

PC: Rebecca Robinson

my father used to slice open a pomegranate for me every saturday morning, but each time, all i saw were my own insides defenseless on a plastic white plate. rumor has it the boy who attacked me once at the construction site kept two heart-shaped buttons from my blouse as trophies. the man who coerced me into a child pornography ring always said how much he loved red lipstick on me. compared me to snow white and matryoshka dolls and beautiful film stars that all died too young. all my life, my grandmother has called me ladybug. from the ages of two to five, i only ever wore dresses the same color as cardinals. but the color’s been ruined for me now. men tell me i’m sexy the same way they tell me when my nose is bleeding, because i’m a wine-flood. a crate of cherries beginning to rot. a bag of shattered rubies. i’m the former victim who has to warn every man not to touch me, and has to laugh it off when they do not listen. how many times will i have to spell this out for them? for myself? how many times will i have to spell this out in order for an entire frequency of light to stop haunting me? i told my father two years ago about all the men who saw me naked, and all the men who told me what to do with my hands in order to survive, and he hasn’t been able to meet my gaze since. he asked me not to talk about this on facebook. or in a poem. he said that while i’m at it, i could stop wearing that ghastly purple lipstick too. red has always suited me better anyway.