SHUSH

A POEM BY ELEANOR DICKENS

The thing is, nobody knows what to think about it.

They didn’t then

But it changes all the time.

Then, it was more about you. Which is why

I never cried.

I still haven’t cried.

Then it was understood, look, we regret it,

The situation is regrettable. But you know,

If you drink that much, if

You talk to somebody, go to their house, kiss them

(I mean come on, you kissed them!)

– Then you have to expect what they are expecting.

What did you expect when you went to the bathroom?

That they wouldn’t want to spread you on the tiles, push

Themselves inside you and say sweetly as you react to the intrusion,

The pressure,

‘shush, darling it’s ok’

Because it is ok.

It was ok.

You are ok.

And you did say; yes

It is ok.

 

So when you had a moment of lucidity – your face against a tiled wall

And there it was inside you, hurting, moving, thought like an island, disconnected

You understood – this isn’t what I wanted

And not what I want

But it is too late now.

After, maybe there were tears.

And then – well, years.

And in them a lot of forgetfulness. But nothing helpful.

 

Now they say – ‘I’m not asking for it’

‘just because I didn’t say no doesn’t mean I meant yes’

And on. And on.

You agree.

But it is disconnected still, to that bathroom, that wall,

That,

That? That.

 

So what is it now?

The reason you’re so alone?

The reason you’re cold?

Or nothing, nowhere. All that is meant to be, is.

Get off the bandwagon.

Shush.

 

Artwork © Maura McHugh

Emma SapersteinComment