Things They Tell You

your mom tells you
when you’re six years old
that if one person says something is wrong with you
get a second opinion
but if two people say the same thing
consider that they might be right
she tells you
people can see inside of you
they’ll figure you out if you let them

your uncle tells you
seven years old
if you weren’t his niece
he could tell you how pretty you are
and you think
at least he keeps it in his head

your cousins
out on the farm
don’t tell you they want to fuck you
they just show you
cornering you alone in the trailer
and fighting each other over who gets to sit beside you

if one person says something is wrong with you
maybe not
but if every man you meet
sees you as something ripe and ready
maybe there’s something wrong with you after all

your dad tells you
he needs you to sleep in his bed
he talks in private to your rapist
so it’s hardly surprising what happens
he tells you you liked it
he tells you to make sure nobody finds out

your rapist tells you
you’re the only nice thing in his life
your rapist tells you how good you are
he tells you
you’re doing it right

your best friend at the time
thirteen years old
tells you she knows exactly what you’re going through
she almost had it happen
one time
with a boy who babysat
and she’s offended, wounded
when you say it’s not the same at all

your mom tells you
its okay to be angry
you deserve it
and she laughs and says
as long as you’re not mad at me
(please don’t be mad at me
please tell me you don’t blame
me for the things I knew
and did nothing to stop)

your councilor
because of course they make you see one
now that everyone knows
tells you that you’re just a child
and you don’t know your own feelings, yet
that’s okay!
she so brightly tells you
we’ll figure them out together!

your dad tells you
five years later
after he’s broken your nose the second time
and you’re being picked up after trying to
walk fifteen miles in the rain
that he was raped too
one time at boarding school
you’re not that special
and you need to stop acting
like this anger is necessary

your heart tells you
what your mother told you:
it’s okay to be angry
but be careful, Lucien




Lucien Linwood is a thirty-year-old trans cripple who enjoys the act of writing and fears being known by his words.