Danger, When I was Supposed to be Safe



I remember the first time I saw a snake,

Curled up inside my Cozy Coupe

Calling to mind my Girl Scout Training

Hershey’s kisses on its back.

I froze in awe and fear


Do not move

Do not breathe

Do not break


Into its space

Or it may bite

Venom coursing through my veins


Danger, where I was supposed to be safe.


I remember the first time I was raped

He was waiting for me in my parents’ bed

Telling me how special and precious I was

Gentle hands on my hips

I froze in pain and confusion


Do not move

Do not breathe

Do not break


The silence

Or I will be punished

Somehow I knew I could never tell a soul


Danger, where I was supposed to be safe.


I remember the first time my image was sold to a stranger

Captured with the same camera as Family Christmas

Maneuvering my little body into the perfect sellable shot

Legs spread, head tilted

I froze in fear and compliance


Do not move

Do not breathe

Do not break


The perfect smile

Pasted across my little face

Or that perfect little face will be broken


Danger, where I was supposed to be safe.


I remember the first time I laid beneath a client

My Winnie the Pooh nightie on the floor

He said he was pretending I was a virgin

“Your little body is so sweet”

I froze in shame and guilt


Do not move

Do not breathe

Do not break


Into shattered sobs

There’s nothing sweet here anymore

No innocence left to be stolen


Danger, where I was supposed to be safe.


I remember laying in the dirt