Gina Abelkop lives in Mount Vernon, NY (USA), where she edits the feminist
literary and arts journal Finery and is an MFA candidate in poetry at
Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have been published in Hothouse,
Lodestar Quarterly, Stirring, and Diagram.

Rape: A Photo Essay

Rape is a simplification
of tones encountered
in the world: desire slit
down it's awful middle
and fed on an emultion
of gelatin, stalks of shadow
leaning upwards the page.
Speaking in lovely tongues,
this is called toning.

Don't put it past
anyone: your mother or some
beautiful furred creature
giving you rapture beneath
a street light—it is always different,
sometimes stronger, when you let
the animals in. They are not any less
or more cruel and being grateful
is apt: here is a fine print
left on your mottled collarbone, all
pallid and torn with love.

Historically, rapes were made
on rag paper which was sized
to fit your mouth. As you grow
the paper spreads its pulp
and therefore you can never be outgrown.
The texture of desire affects the way
light reflects from your collarbone;
when you step out of the lake
you're all glistening and pert, even
with bruises rising like bodies
from beneath you. Only

a mirror-like surface is left, more
opaque than a blue-black.
You will never look
so beautiful as you do climbing
from your own skin. A rape

with a sense of internal light
does not fare any better
on your flesh that one without.
If you rise born again and holy
from your rape you may find
your sense of original mass
has changed and you are gorgeous
when once only silver.

For Carrie

A sentiment or picture does not
set precedent for loss of blood,
chipped teeth, bitten lips: linearly,
this has all taken place in the trade
of slickness before. Nothing
given releases memories, memories being
the last thing I'd want you to have—
still, your sunburn set atop sea eyes
is not common. Everything you've given
by way of emergent photographs
is more than enough, "enough" being
the word that stands in for love
here. Each day afterwards connects
you to more upturned dirges, though
the forms of hours can obliterate as many
moments as there are uncommon women.
Set those eyes ahead, feets planted those
slippery buds. Given here: sentient witness.

On Waking

The Bed came clattering out of the hallway
like a loon.

Wrapped around my throat, past
midnight, was a way of telling: I got so sad,
this other night, that not boughs nor sky began.

Something red stopped in the light and grew
aggressively forward, exacting approach
towards me. All the flitted, dumb fluttering
of my short hands hung there uselessly and I told,
I threw fits of glass against the street

and hoped. I hoped
for a Bed, something like a loon.

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