My rapist, his friends, and the shred of me that got lost in his dorm room walk into a burger joint
like I’m not sitting right there in the corner booth,
eyes on the front door.
It’s fanfare: they all order double-patty cheddar melts
and Coke floats,
and stand by the windows
at the back of the restaurant
and wait for their numbers to be called.
My rapist laughs at something that comes out of his own mouth –
He wears a red baseball hat – the same red baseball hat,
same white words that blurred between my eyelids
and seared themselves inside.
His friends wear Hawaiian button-downs, open, Miller Lite t-shirts, pressed,
just to show they’re the kinds of guys
who wear white Nike socks, sweat-stained, with Chacos,
and just don’t care.
Dressed in a navy and maroon flannel dress,
the shred of me that got lost in his dorm room darkens the room,
long-sleeved, quiet lips, crooked glasses.
A trail of blood runs down her inner thigh.
She hangs on my rapist’s arm and laughs at his jokes
while he and his friends pretend she is not there –
when their number is called, she stays close behind,
sits on the edge of the table and tries to feel comfortable with the conversation.
I keep stealing looks in their direction,
and she keeps stealing looks in mine, but still –
when the shred of me that got lost in his dorm room tries to come over and say hello,
my rapist wraps his arm around her waist and asks her
hey baby, stay
in a way that I will never forget
is not a request.
and I stand up,
reach my hand out
to the shred of me that got lost in his dorm room.
My rapist smiles like he doesn’t remember my face.
I pretend he’s not there, invisible.
Come with me, I tell her. You don’t belong here.
My rapist pales,
and the shred of me that got lost in his dorm room
takes my hand,
and doesn’t look back.
Kaitlyn Crow is a writer doing undergraduate work in Virginia. Her poetry has been published in Apeiron Review, Bluestockings Magazine, and Inside the Bell Jar’s 2018 anthology on mental health, ‘We Run Through the Dark Together,’ among others.