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Winter 01
art gallery
bachelor girl

Shannon Allen

She found dad’s pornography in a drawer
to the right of his bed, under scattered paperwork,
She was eleven,
Breast-buds raised and sore on her thin chest,
pains of menstrual cramps ensuing
making her afraid of
the pain, of bleeding.
Those pages of ugly, empty women
spreading their lips
to expose pink lumps of twisted flesh.
Letting their tongues push over their mouths
like dogs.
Their asses point to the camera
like weakness.

She lost a little innocence,
and her father became more of a stranger,
because he became more of a man.
I’ve never been ready for the hard reality of the human experience. Labels like faggot, homo, retard, frigid, nigger, spic, cunt, skank, slut, whore, bitch. Realities like prostitution, rape, molestation, child abuse....moments like going into my loving father’s room and finding pornography; and being eleven, and looking down at my body and feeling nothing but fragile.

When She was only twelve
mom told her about the rape.
How five men,
how five men,
hurt that soft place She had come from.
Mom told her it happened
in Texas behind red brick buildings.
Mom told her no one heard her screams.
Mom told her she just gave up.
Mom told her
with dry eyes and steady hands
as she made egg-salad sandwiches for lunch,
because her daughter should know
about Texas and weakness.

She was only twelve.
Knowing made her unsure,
and her breasts had already become
small lumps of soft flesh.
Her stomach rounded
and She began to bleed.

She moved downtown when she was 22,
a block away from dirty streets
of pushers and prostitution
because She didn’t care,
wouldn’t look down on them, shouldn’t pity them.
Men in cars would follow
shapely hips, bouncing breast, round ass, curving back
and long exposed legs
that carried her along the sidewalk.
Men in cars would call
through teeth stained with smoky anxiety
reminding her:
She is a victim.
Reminding her:
they are the instruments of her humiliation.
The faster She walked, the further away, the more of a tease.
And the more resolved they were that they would have her:
on the street, 3 am, walking home alone,
on the street, 12 am, selling her body to feed her kids,
to feed her fix, to find somewhere warm and dry for fifteen minutes.
Her, walking through the park
her at a party....
her going into the train station bathroom, alone....
her visiting your girlfriend....
her laying restlessly awake in bed, wondering where he is,
why he didn’t come home.

And so I ask: when does the innocence stop and hardreality begin? I could be your child, niece, teacher, sister, nanny, granddaughter, co-worker, boss, wife....your mother. I could be that girl that used to live next door. That girl who used to try to skateboard, listen to punk music, ride bicycles, play soccer, watch football and campy movies with her dad. I could be your friend, or I could be your lover.

She lets her lover in because
he has become an essential part of her.
She likes him to dive deep within her flesh,
to find the place that’s his.
She, who becomes soft skin, whispering
seduction, tangled hair, skeins of sweat, perfume of sex.
Her mouth is open. Her legs are open.
Innocent and pure,
and not a tease
but a pleasure.
He deserves her,
this desire.

And what if you were her lover,
and what if She lived in a world
that made her a tight package of tits and ass?
And what if you were her lover,
And what if you were her father,
and what if She will always want
to be something more?


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