Monkey Bars & Ice Cream Trucks (Red is Sin)
by Lameese Badr
This is not your wife’s skin which you are caressing,
This is a young girl’s hymen that you are tearing.
She is young enough to be your daughter,
Did you think she’ll forget?
Don’t you know that ten years later
When her friends are gathered around bonfires
Reminiscing about childhoods revolved around monkey bars and ice cream trucks
She’ll be remembering the nights she had to tip toe into the bathroom
And teach her fingers how to wash underwears so no one can trace
Back the blood drops which were maps of hidden pain,
So her mother won’t suspect a thing while doing laundry.
So her skin won’t stain with pity from other eyes.
Nobody told her it wasn’t her fault.
Nobody told her that those closest to you can hurt you the worst.
Nobody warned her that family is blood
And blood is thicker than water.
So thick that it penetrated through every layer inside of her
Starting at her pelvis,
But never leaving through her mouth
Because she has taken a vow that the words will never escape through her tongue.
What do I say to a girl like this when she comes and asks me to lift this weight off her shoulders
What words do I use when I know that no eloquence will make this better
How can the words ‘I’m sorry for what you’ve been through’ ever be enough?
I’m sorry that this man stole your childhood
I’m sorry he digged his way inside of you the same way savage animals dig for a prey under the ground.
I’m sorry you were returned to your father’s doorstep like a broken toy on your wedding night because the white sheets never turned red
I’m sorry you will never become a mother
And get a chance to hold your daughter in your arms
I’m even sorry you won’t be able to make the choice of believing your daughter
When she says ‘Mommy, he tickles me too roughly.’
I’m sorry that the only thing men have taught you is pain
I’m sorry you allow yourself to believe that the height of this
Pole you stand next to every night is as high as you’ll ever go in life.
You have tattooed every corner of your body
Because that’s the closest you’ll ever get to brand new skin
Skin that doesn’t feel like shame against your bones
Filled ink into your blood just so you won’t bleed the color red anymore.
I’m sorry that despite what the color red reminds you of
You’re still forced to paint it on your lips every night
Forced to taste the bitterness of a memory you tried to throw away
Because after all,
Red is what sells
It is what pays the bills
Red is sin.