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I See You, The Morning After

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I See You, The Morning After

Annabelle Vincent

a boy

a young girl

a broken condom

or the absence of one

all together

they hardly know each other

her vision clouded by shame

she has never felt more alone

as she can not speak of

this

she wishes to disappear

into the wrinkles in the sheets

and not be visible to the eyes

of another

for we were raised to shy away

with no direct conversations

no curtains pulled back 

on the mysteries of sex.

 

sarcasm met the sex scenes of movies

obnoxious fake kissing noises made by fathers

resulting in nervous laughter 

of their children

as all present were careful

to not lock eyes with one another

learning:

sexuality must not be seen.

 

us girls, us women

we live in a world

where we have to go to the prescription counters 

of pharmacies lit

as unforgivingly as the eyes of strangers

when we walked out alone with what we were about to ask for

too ashamed to tell friends, sisters

mothers

asking the pharmacist 

voice shaking

gaze down, for we cannot be seen

not like this

“can I - “

nervous coughing

“I need, um, I need plan B”

 

the questions that follow are humiliating

the pap smears feel all too invasive

the sheer lack of understanding

around our most intimate

private

parts of our bodies

(they call then private, so they are)

then one day 

in the hospital 

doubled over in pain

we are shamed for having sexually transmitted diseases

our support systems, our rocks

are now like water

for our mothers stand on the other side of the plastic curtain

unsteady

as the nurse tells us

we are promiscuous 

and now may not be able to have children

their eyes say it all 

all that we learned in youth 

that we had sex

and now we are not okay

we find new meaning

to the word

shame.

 

in our society

that is fighting to even have the right 

to expose female breasts 

sex is still not okay

it should still not be spoken of  

if it harms us we must take our medication in silence 

and pray

for forgiveness

for sinning 

in the most natural way.

for there is something in the water

we have been drinking for 20, 30, 60 years:

shame. 

 

young girls who have sex

are not tainted 

young girls who get STDs

are not dirty

young girls who cannot have children

will still be women

we must stop fighting women's bodies

their natural urges

and natural responses

positive or negative

to consensual sex

to sexual trauma, abuse, rape

and instead

fight the solidification of shame 

as our world shames sexuality

for sexual liberation

shames our current world

our urge to stay hidden, separate, unseen

 

our world is changing

we must not be quiet

with truth

until the day

there is no 

shame 

 

a girl’s eyes

hold steady

the gaze of a stranger 

in a white lab coat

when she asks for what she needs

if she needs it

“the morning after pill

please 

and thank you

for I had sex the night before”

and she knows 

whatever the circumstance of the encounter

she is still worth

being seen 

and the human

in the white lab coat

smiles

“I see you”