December 22, 2014



means:     you have a master
means    they tell you
your fate       your job
the position of
your body
and the means by which
they’ll use it

means:     there’s eight
of them and one of you
taking their turns
in a house where

no one’s coming
home for thirteen
hours      means
your age is thirteen
and eight years of
school didn’t
warn you

there’s really only
one lesson
for a girl
they call it:        training
say:    we ran a train

on her      they say
we trained her
after that she was

not the same

they’re careful
not to use
your name
think they
know what they’re
training you     for

but you’re quiet
trying to
another lesson

what you

have to do

what you have to
do to kill

the other

what you have to do
to kill the other:

what you have to do

MYTILI JAGANNATHAN makes poems that investigate public and private space, power, gender, property, desire, collectivity, and the conditions of speech. She is the author of Acts, a chapbook from Habenicht Press; and her poems have appeared in Sous Rature, EOAGH, Rattapallax, Mirage#4/Period[ical], Combo, Fanzine, Interlope, Xcp: Cross-Cultural Poetics, and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry. She collaborated with filmmaker Sara Zia Ebrahimi and musician Gralin Hughes on Up Against, a 5-minute film screened as part of the “Shelter” episode of the Termite TV Collective. Her writing has been recognized by a grant from the Leeway Foundation and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. 

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about 
rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an 
immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape 
culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger 
conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and 
Susana Gardner.

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