About the Feature

Photo by Dominick

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.

About the Author

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.