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Missoula Rape Poem

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(Editor 's note: Siarge Piercy was in J soula, Montana recently to rcaJ some of her poctry. Exiremely moved hy Missoula women 's accounts of the lacle of official response to assaults on women, and af ter a sleepless night, she wrote the following poeni.) There is no dmerence between being raped and being pushed down a fliglit of cement steps except that the wounds also bleed inside. There is no difference between being raped and being run over by a truck except that 'afterward men ask if you en' joyed it. There is no difference between being raped and losing a hand in a mowing machine except that doctors don't want to get invol ved, the pĆ³lice wear a knowing smirk, and in small towns you become a veteran whore. There is no difference between being raped and going head first through a windshield except that afterward you are afraid not of cars but half the human race. The rapist is your boyfriend's brother He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn. Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male Like a maggot in garbage. Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing all of the time on a woman's hunched back. Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pineweeds, never to climb a trail across a bald spot on a mountain without that aluminum in the mouth when I see a man climbing toward me. Never to open the door to a knock without that razorjust the throat. The fear of the dark side of liedges, the back seat of the car. the empty house rattling keys like a snake"s waming. The fear of the smiling man in whose pocket is a knife waiting to glide its shark's length between my ribs. The fear of the serious man in whose fist is locked hatred. All it takes to cast a rapist is to be able to be able to see your body as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as addingmachine gun. All it takes is hating that body your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab. All it takes is to push what you hate, what you fear onto the soft alien flesh. To bucket out invincible as a tank armored with treads without senses to possess and punish in one act, to rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare live in the leafy flesh open to love.