X’s: The Blank Space

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault/Harassment



I created a list—“xx,”
a password protected Note
listing why I, too,
might try to hang up my skin
and rid myself of it.


“Chill, chill, chill”
three in a row, like he was chanting.
See, this was a practiced ritual,
which he performed with hideous
fervor (for my body).
He reminded me to chill;
this, in order to cease to exist
in my body. For moments,
i was just a body,
and my discomfort reinforced
his mantra. He didn’t even
revere it.
It’s all fuzzy.


xx #1: a car honked
but there were no other
cars around to receive
the scolding.
I remember skipping to the
beach with my father—
he loved the ocean and the sand;
he loved anything that reminded
him of his island, the home
he didn’t get to live in.
But on my walk to the beach
I couldn’t even live in my own skin;
I was a vehicle without a passenger
being scolded for driving
in plain sight.
On my walk to the beach,
I couldn’t even live in my own skin.
I was no longer habitable.
My body lost all spirit
for those moments
until I could force salt into my eyes
and cover myself in sand
so that my body went away
and my eyes burned
and everything was surrounded
by rainbows, even my own skin.


xx #2: even music
took part in scratching me out.
I danced; I was happy.
But drums could only
beat for so long
before my body resembled
one. I remember a slap.


xx #3: a Harvard man
sat at the edge of a
party, observing with the
same calculation
as in his Chemistry lab,
noting the physical
appearances of his
specimen. The Harvard
boy lined his cups
with his experiment.
He, a gentleman,
handed me a cup
and smiled. I thanked him.
He observed. I was lost.


xx #4: his name.
As little as i remember,
i remember his mantra
and the cold, tiled floor.
i remember pushing
and shoving to maneuver
around him
but this made no difference.


Later, I saw him again.
“Just get her really drunk...”
Make her chill.
A coldness climbed up my spine
erasing me, again and again.
“I heard you...”
“I heard you...”
“I heard you...”
“[...] is telling people you...”
“[...] is telling people you...”
“[...] is telling people you...”


I remember telling him* about xx #4 from miles away. He* was smoking a cigarette; pieces of his* arm
burned and scabbed over. He* heard the story of my erasure, he* heard and I heard and I tried to run to
the beach to get rainbows in my vision and to breathe in dad’s home, a home, any home.


How do I leap out of my body
when I am confined to it?
How am I confined to it,
when I’ve been pushed out on streets
and with music and in parties
and on cold tiled floors?


How can I be anything
for him* while he still exists
with a piece of me
which he ripped out of my body
so I could become a shell
for his convenience?
I have told myself to chill.


xx#1, xx#2, xx#3, xx#4
how else will I be carved
scratched out
when will the mantra
be spoken again
how can I be here
and there and here
and there and here
and I am drowning I am drowning I am drowning in my body in the skin I want to hang up and toss out
and I didn’t want to hurt him*
but my body means so much
too much


all I want to do is rip it into pieces.

Author: Anonymous