The poems contained in this series, “Liberating Words,” came out of an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston. The course, “The Personal Is Political: An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a history teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism: the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.
What about me?
By Victoria Farina
This isn’t want you want.
He only says he loves you as he slides his hand under your skirt
He only says he loves you as he grabs your ass, his coarse hands brushing your skin
You want to leave.
He only says he loves you as he’s unbuckling his belt, unzipping his fly
Is this really what you expected?
He only says he loves you as he removes your shirt, leaving you exposed
Why does he still have all of his clothes on?
He only says he loves you as he leads your hand down farther and farther
Why does this always happen to me?
He only says he loves you because he knows that you won’t stop it
He knows you haven’t been taught to resist
He knows that he is in control
They told you that he was a nice guy,
from a respectable family
they have money they told you
he is going to treat you well
he can buy you presents
if you’re good to him
What about me?
Why do I owe him everything and he nothing to me?
Why does he not stop?
You know this is wrong
You know that you don’t want this
You know that girls don’t have to take this
You know that other girls know how to say no
but you don’t
You don’t know how to tell him that you want to leave
that you’re a virgin
that this isn’t what you want
but he seems to be enjoying himself
what about me
Victoria Farina lives in Boston and is a junior at the Winsor School. Her interests include fashion, traveling and blogging.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user darioferrini licensed under Creative Commons 2.0