Listen

—With the exception of the first and last stanzas, all the words in this poem come from letters or emails from Laurie’s readers—

Listen

You write to us
from Houston, Brooklyn, Peoria,
Rye, NY,
LA, DC, Everyanywhere USA to
 my mailbox, My
Space Face
Book
A livejournal of bffs whispering
Onehundredthousand whispers to
Melinda and
Me.

You:
I was raped, too
sexually assaulted in seventh
grade,
tenth grade, the summer after
graduation,
at a party
i was 16
i was 14
i was 5 and he did it for three
years
i loved him
i didn’t even know him.
He was my best friend’s brother,
my grandfather, father, mommy’s
boyfriend,
my date
my cousin
my coach
i met him for the first time that
night and —
four guys took turns, and  —
i’m a boy and this happened to
 me, and  —

… I got pregnant I gave up my
daughter for adoption …
did it happen to you, too?
U 2?

You:
i wasn’t raped, but
my dad drinks, but
i hate talking, but
my brother was shot, but
i am outcast, but
my parents split up, but
i am clanless, but
we lost our house, but
i have secrets – seven years of secrets
and i cut
myself my friends cut
we all cut cut cut
to let out the pain

… my 5-year-old cousin was
raped –
he’s beginning to act out now …
do you have suicidal thoughts?
do you want to kill him?

You:
Melinda is a lot like this girl I
know
No she’s a lot like
(me)
i am MelindaSarah
i am MelindaRogelio i am MelindaMegan, MelindaAmberMelindaStephenTori
PhillipNavdiaTiaraMateoKristinaBeth
it keeps hurting, but
but
but
but
this book cracked my shell
it keeps hurting I hurt, but
but your book cracked my shell.

You:
I cried when I read it.
I laughed when I read it
is that dumb?
I sat with the girl —
you know,  that girl —
I sat with her because nobody sits with
her at lunch
and I’m a cheerleader, so there.

speak changed my life
cracked my shell
made me think
about parties
gave me
wings this book
opened my mouth
i whispered, cried
rolled up my sleeves i
hate talking but
I am trying.

You made me remember who I
am.
Thanks.

P.S. Our class is gonna analyze this thing to death.

Me:
Me:
Me: weeping

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