Last week, at a campus party,
I was raped. I think.
Someone put sneakers in
the wash. The noise from
the machine is giving me a headache.
Next to me a friend is chatting on
about some guy she met. Like
he’s the best thing since sliced bread.
Her eyes are bright and wants me
to share in her excitement.
I woke up with
a massive headache
and fuzzy flash backs
of the night before.
Beth asks, Are you OK?
I couldn’t stop crying
in bed. Her voice shakes
as she speaks. She called
the student rape hotline.
I love the smell of
warm fabric softner.
She’s trying to get advice
from the person on the line. I love the smell
of warm fabric softener. Can’t
wait to put my jeans on straight
out of the dryer. Come on, let’s get you
dressed, she whispers angrily.
We have to get you to
the clinic. I miss my mom.
She makes the best blueberry
pancakes. Whose sneakers
are still washing? Why can’t
they stop the machine? Don’t they
know they’ll never be as clean
as before? It’s Sunday.
All of the daffodils have bloomed.
The nurse handed me a Plan B.
There is still time. Shouldn’t wait.
Swallow this, she says. I did as
I was told.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Beth says
as if it’s her fault
we’re here. In this exam room. I want
to crawl so far into hole, but I have laundry.
So much laundry.
Some guys are telling Yo Mamma jokes
and everyone laughs. I fold my sheets
into perfect squares. Outside the window
the quad is a sea of yellow. Wonder
if I’d get into trouble if I picked one? How much
money do I have? I could use some
coffee. Yo mamma is so fat, that
when she sits around the house, she
sits arrrrooounnnd the house.
That nurse was nice. I read the
pamphlets she gave me,
but couldn’t make sense of the words.
You’ll be Ok.
Beth said and she hugged me.
The hotline advised counseling.
They also advise going to campus police—
Talking, talking, talking.
Maybe, I said
Don’t think I’m ready yet.
I’ll be Ok, I smile.
I was lying.
I finish folding.
My phone rings. Everyone’s laughing.