having erotophobia in a sex driven culture
is like being a cockroach in a sea of spotlights, chasing you back
into the corner you just crawled out from.
here is another elephant we don’t talk about,
some nameless guest sharing our china that no one thinks to mention.
how can you live a quiet life when you are terrified of how you got here and
all the things they expect you to do before you leave?
my body is a continent i am still learning my way around and i am terrified
of what men will do to all my naked
when it cannot fight back: here, take what you want of me and don’t give anything back.
maybe i am afraid of men, or maybe
of all this skin, or maybe
of having nowhere to hide, nothing to shield myself with.
maybe i am just afraid of passing on these knotted up nucleotides, of giving life to someone else
who doesn’t want it.
i know how much my mother wants grandchildren but
i don’t know if i want children,
i don’t know if i want to get married,
i don’t know if i even like men, i’m sorry.
i don’t think i will ever fall in love,
which is to say, I don’t think i’ll ever find a boy
who will love me even if my body is never ready for him,
even if i never want to make a family out of us.
i am not waiting on the right boy, i don’t want to have my mind changed,
i am not going to grow out of this so stop asking.
i was told that my libido should be at its peak, that i’ll never be crazier than this,
but i don’t have fantasies of sex, only intrusive thoughts that i still haven’t learned to shake.
the kids from my middle school health class giggle as we talk about the kind of things they’ve played around with,
the kind of things i still can’t speak of without bile as quotation marks.
is there a special hell for those who die as virgins? do we burn naked at the pyre?
i wish my body really belonged to me.
i wish i wasn’t so afraid of something that was made to be beautiful.
i wish this poem made it hurt any less.
By sarah kate osborn
sarah kate osborn is a fifteen year old poet from north carolina who hates describing herself and rebels against capital letters. she is trying to toss her voice into a world already filled with noise and may have nothing meaningful to say. she has been published in the rising phoenix review, words dance magazine, and persephone’s daughters. she can be found at www.allthesinkingships.tumblr.com