Posts Tagged ‘speaking out’

Hi friends–before you read the poem, a little note about content. 

It’s Teen Love & Consent week here in Telluride, and lots of difficult conversations are happening about statistics and setting boundaries. At the same time, some difficult news about teen sexual assault has been in our local papers. And so this poem was born. Because it’s so far out of the realm of my normal content, I wanted to give you the ability to not read the poem. It’s not graphic, but it’s not easy to read either. It’s farther down the page. 

I realize as I send this what a roller coaster you signed up for when you subscribed to the daily poems, and I thank you for meeting me every day with the all of it. It means so much to me, your presence, thank you. 

with great respect, 

What Goes Unspoken

with gratefulness for the girls who spoke out

On the table, the tulips are opening,
splaying in effortless pink delight,
an homage to how soft things can bring so much pleasure,
and I think of how you once scolded me for picking flowers,
saying it was better to leave them as they were.

That was years ago,
when I traveled to see you on Cape Cod.
You were a tennis pro
and I was the girl who thought I could come to love you.
I had gone for a walk in the woods
and picked you a small bouquet.
Violets, perhaps, and something small and white.

I didn’t know then that I was a tulip.
We’d flirted. You seemed kind.
I never thought you would—
never imagined I was—
never dreamt when I said no you wouldn’t—

Mostly I left my body.
I remember staring at the windowsill while you—
I’d put the flowers in a jar. They were purple and white.
How could you defend the flowers and yet—
I didn’t open for you and you cut—
I was a stem when I left.

It’s been years since I remembered you,
but there was an article in the paper this week
about a boy here who—
Eleven girls spoke out.
How many girls did you—
I never said a word.
I have a girl now, too.

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It hurts to be silent—

the unsaid words

sharp as frazil ice—

needle shaped and

able to slice what

inside is tender.

Still, we found ways

to be silent.

I give thanks

for the chill

that woke up

the millions of women

around the world,

got us moving

in one direction.

I give thanks

for the diversity

of messages

that inspire us

to be not one voice

but millions



As we march,

I think of the fish,

how they move as one,

sometimes daily,

sometimes annually.

They know

when to stay,

when to move,

when to give it

everything they’ve got.

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