pipe tobacco

folk songs and travel stories were told over drinks and pipe tobacco.
I think I was seventeen.
your life had seemed so romantic.
simple and sweet.
hitch-hiking through a blizzard to play a small cafe.
spirited eyes.
I had a couch and yeah, I offered it to you.
I liked the idea of befriending a travelling folksinger.
you were forty-seven.

I didn’t cause a scene when you started to touch me
because my mom was asleep in the next room
I suppose it means you want it if you just lie there, eyes glazed
and your mind is anywhere but that moment
looking up at the patterns of the textured ceiling.
I suppose it means yes when you don’t say no loud enough.

the next day I gave up a year of charted menstruation
I swallowed a pill because I didn’t want to be pregnant.
I was scared.
my thoughts were distorted and I became depressed.
I slept for two days.
and I’ve never been able to understand what is so painful about this experience
because society tells me that it wasn’t rape if I didn’t fight.
but I am just dying for someone to tell me
why I had an anxiety attack when I saw you that summer years later.
and why it made me nauseous when you put your arm around me,
and said you were excited to see me.

I realized that you look fondly on a memory that haunts and revolts me.
the smell of pipe tobacco elicits a feeling more violent that vomit.
I smell it and I look over my shoulder, frightened.
and with a proud smile you told me that you wrote a song about me on your new album.
like I was going to be excited.
all I can think is
how many songs on albums are girls who didn’t say no loud enough.


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