Child Welfare by Christine Ray

Originally posted in the Whisper and the Roar: A Feminist Literary Collective (& outlaw poets swearing)

Whisper and the Roar


[Poem by Christine Ray]

I am in a child welfare class
In graduate school
The room is full
Class starts at 4 pm
The room is dim
My classmates and I are drowsy
We all could use a snack
Some caffeine

The professor puts on a film
A surprisingly graphic film
About child sexual abuse
I am fine
I am fine
I am fine
And then I am not fine
I am rushing out of the classroom
In a cold sweat
Heart thudding
Hands shaking

I just make it to the ladies room
And the privacy of a stall
Before I vomit my lunch up
In the ancient, cracked toilet
I have never used the words
Sexual abuse
In relationship to myself before
But my body is telling me a different narrative
As I shake, white in the 3rd floor bathroom

I have had lovers
Who are sexual abuse…

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