Featured in Colorado Review
Impossible Map out of the BasementFeatured, Poetry
Published Fall 2017
This is not a reversal—there is no undo-
ing it. I know this now, I know this now,
but here I am. Again. The door opens
or he opens the door for me. A way out
of this kind of thinking takes precision,
the still-clear division of where my body
begins and begins to be taken, or given.
No, definitely taken. This sucks: to feel it
still from such remove: the room all-angles
invasive: I can be above or behind or
beneath him. To clarify: to feel it again is
to panic. I panicked. I was in a panic
attack from the first push to the last
piece of clothing pulled off. What have I
transferred to you, dear listener? Is this
our odyssey together, or have I hitched you
to my now-naked side? I am sorry. Maybe.
Or maybe I am not the one to be sorry anymore.
You might have already been down here,
too. In fact, it’s likely, and more likely
we shall never speak should one see the other . . .
It’s hard to be casual about these things—
in fact, I still haven’t said much at all. The narrative
a bracket, a story in static. What if I told you?
Is my devil in my details? Do I have a devil?
Do I owe you details? Some say to tell is to
trigger. To wear a warning is to make another
mark on myself. I need not do so. Put down
the paper. Walk out from the room. This time
there is a choice before we reach the end.
Yael Massen is the recipient of the 2016 Vera Meyer Strube Academy of American Poets Award and the 2016 Kraft-Kinsey Award. Her work can be found within the pages and URLs of Diagram, Third Coast, and the Journal. She is the former nonfiction editor and associate poetry editor of Indiana Review and volunteers at Middle Way House as a sexual violence victim advocate.