an excerpt from “A Place, A Feeling, Something He Said To You” – Alexandra Naughton

A place a feeling something he said to you that you can still feel,
something like dampness in your lungs,
something like a reasonable excuse to ignore it,
something like going to work sick,
something like knowingly making a mistake,
something like biting your tongue in the same spot,
something like biting it again to make it bleed more,
something that has become so routine that you anticipate it
and try to avoid it and try to remove him from your life
and he shows up and he’s there and he tells you to get in the car
and you feel yourself covered in him and numbed by him
and he’s at your house and in your bed the places you should feel safe
and he’s making you watch pornography that you don’t want to watch
and he’s trying to guilt you into orchestrating a threesome for him
and he’s making negative comments to you about your body
and he’s making you feel self-conscious about your body
and he’s watching what you do on social media and telling you to delete what you post
and your friends don’t bother calling you any more
and you’re not allowed to use your phone when he’s around
and you’re afraid to say the wrong thing to him
and you’re afraid to even do the things you like to do when you’re alone
and you feel like you’re never alone
and you feel isolated by him
and he wants to be your whole life
and you just do the minimum to keep him from taking you completely.

Alexandra Naughton.jpgAlexandra Naughton is a writer based in Richmond, California. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Be About It Press, established in 2010. She is the author of six poetry collections including You Could Never Objectify Me More Than I’ve Already Objectified Myself (Punk Hostage Press, 2015), I Will Always Be In Love (Paper Press, 2015), and Rapid Transit (Nomadic Press, 2018). Her first novel, American Mary, was published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016. Her next book A Place, A Feeling, Something He Said To You is forthcoming from Spooky Girlfriend Press.