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Content Note: this piece contains descriptions of sexual violence.
ONE AND FIVE CHAIRS
The empty chair is the passenger seat of his car;
I am fifteen years old.
They always tell young women not to walk home alone at night,
so I accept the ride I already know will take me anywhere but home.
When it is over, he asks for a kiss as a token of his generosity
in granting me “safe” passage.
O captain, my captor; I carry in my blood and the melanin of my skin
the knowledge of what we women have survived to reach the shores,
knowing full well that it is not freedom
that awaits us when we disembark.
The empty chair is the dressing room of the high-school theatre;
I am sixteen years old.
Four hands on my body, under the guise of a prank,
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