River Girl [poem by Jessica Forest]

My mother was the type of girl who all the boys said they would marry but never date. And so I am the sum of all of her pent up aggression, she bottled all of her passion up and put it into me; made me out of that crisp, crackling fire so that she could remain frigid because how else do you deal with a husband who doesn’t love you? A husband who abandons you and rapes your child because you won’t turn over or move or breathe in bed? I became the girl that all boys date but will never marry. I do not want any children. I do not want to blow a beautiful glass bobble that can break once I drop it on the floor. But maybe you can be the one who I crawl to out of the crackling river where I have thrown myself down on the stones hoping to smash my bones into a thousand glass pieces frozen in the water where I won’t feel anything anymore and when the feeling gets too much the feeling gets too much and I, for god’s sake I have no idea why, pull myself out of the water. But I do. And I crawl. Maybe, just maybe I can crawl to you and you can tell me that I am beautiful and everything is going to be okay. And then you can move on to the next girl and I can move on to the next boy until he tells me that I am the girl that everyone dates and never marries and then I can throw myself into the river again and crawl back to you again. See, nobody says that I am revolting; none of the boys ever say that I am revolting, I see this in myself so I crawl to you and then away from you. I watch you walk away, watch you dancing in the arms of another girl before you can see just how revolting I am. That’s when I turn to the next boy and drown my sorrow like I drown myself in the river every night every night in the frozen water I drown myself in someone else and I can’t understand how exactly I am supposed to die. Why am I not dying when I throw myself down into the frozen water? When my skull cracks into a thousand pieces and I am still alive? That is when I can come back to you and maybe you will give me the answer; you will tell me that I am beautiful and that I have to go, there is another girl waiting for you and her skirt is prettier than mine so I need to go but I am still beautiful and I am welcome back any time.

 

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