RAPE GIRL (Excerpt)

by Jamie Hood

Cover image by Artemisia Gentileschi.


Let me try again.
We know this story.

A girl wanders alone in a wood.
A path, unencumbered.
Held between streams as a lover is held
in the heart’s palm, attended to          tenderly & so private.
Along its boundaries soft rush, stretched frail as dusk light
about the water; also broomsedge, also buttery hepatica, also
sweetspire, also sweetgrass. Then a bower. The bower is
not a metaphor for a dark place.  It is the dark place.

Kneel. Bless the purple false foxglove’s blushing face
in July. Chew yarrow for tooth ache or throb of grief.

Then a thrush song. It is quietened
by wet leaves. Then—; embrace:
forgotten thing. Salt lick of sweat.
Taste of humid climate. You’d thought you
were alone. You forget: a girl is only ever
as alone as a man                    allows.

This is a wood  Know
his shape  Leave horns
of Lyfts behind  We are
in the thick of the fairy
story now  under cover
deciduous trees who
delicately shape          shift
model new looks  This is how
we adjust the visages of time  or
perhaps its investment in
passing                        am I
ever this selfsame girl
born of lichen  wet      dark

Pass stairstep moss
blanketing the valley
in whispers  Sidestep
hogweed  to avoid
blindness  also third
degree burns  Sidestep
men                 for same

Fear:    caws
shadows  wolves
other usualnesses

of waiting teeth
Jaws masticate &
masticate &
masticate  All of me
is a bolus now  I am
a myth             made

o my god

Here is my container  When I am chewed  my bones
disappear  Darling  I say  let me make this easy on you

No       I am trying
to get my story
straight                                    on
the FM radio               I calibrate
my gravity  I am listening
to the news      & on the news
there are always girls              walking
what a dangerous thing  Our legs
take us all        over     We are spreadable
as imitation butter &
this is how you like it

A girl walks in to a bar
a party             an alleyway
her bedroom                any place
a girl walks                 & is
taken               what is the word
for this today  is it the United States  Alex
I ask what is cultural DNA  We recall
this implicitly  How do you say—;
intergenerational trauma in poem       -speak
historico-special trauma         trauma of girlness;
or         the human       Let’s Get Metaphysical Baby
—or  the damned beingness of any of it         …how
do you sing R**E in a hearable register



Jamie Hood is an ex-doctoral student, ex-hooker, and current insufferable Twitter e-girl. She’s busy finishing a book-length hybrid manuscript called RAPE GIRL, selections from which have been published by The Rumpus. She lives, writes, dog moms, and bartends in Brooklyn.

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