I have been saving up my bitter for this moment.
When a rapist would become leader of “my” country.
I have been squirreling it away.
Keeping it in parentheticals and burying it underground.
See, I think my body always knew,
even if I did not,
that this day would come.
The tell is in the way my body always flinches away from men I do not know
but have met one thousand times.
It is in the way I know that they anticipate the flinch.
Hand feed it, raise it, take it shopping, out for dinner.
My body always knows and
It’s right about you too.
are a man I have never met but know
as intimately as the curve of my own juicy ass.
My body always knows, and so
it has stored up bitter for the winter.
Like fat cells.
Like oxygen on the moon. Like enough anger to make me taste battery acid every time you speak.
Like enough nuclear fission that I could fight
one of your god damned wars for you.
My body has wrapped itself in enough Kevlar
vests that when you fire a bazooka at it my bitter absorbs the shrapnel
I’m not saying that it won’t cut, because see,
my body, any woman’s body, is a wild-flower field of
Donald, what I am saying is that it will cut, but I won’t feel it.
Please tell me you understand what that means.
It means you haven’t got a chance.
This body has fought off a thousand greedy hands
and will fight off a thousand more.
And maybe this body isn’t a body anymore after all.
Maybe it is a thing I’ve finally learned how to hide
with sleight of hand. A thing you could never pin down
no matter how hard and fast and rough
this poem was not supposed to be angry.
When has a man ever understood a woman’s anger?
Name one instance and I’ll shut up, I swear.
But I’m angry anyway, and my body, for all its bitter,
is angry too.
Lucia Akard is a writer of fiction, poetry, and history. She has been published previously in Persephone’s Daughters and Sugar Magazine. In the fall she will be pursuing her PhD in History at the University of Oxford, where she will be studying medieval rape narratives.