December 25, 2014



Home is where I learned 

the importance of clam bakes, 
to exfoliate thin layers of skin, 

and how to be quiet. Light bulbs 
shattered easily. I took the sharpness 
and ran it down my thighs. 

Then, there is mother, 
and she says one of us has to leave.
Mother says:
It’s not safe for you to be here. 
No, you’re not safe. 
No, you make it unsafe for us.

I remember a garden, 
and the cats giving over
rabbit tails, thighs, ears, 

parts of heads for us on the front stairs. 
The taxidermy in the basement,
antlers, eyes.

The deer always watched.
The sound of my knees hitting
the brick floor of the kitchen. 

I used to ride my horse to a place 
where even the driest ground
was soaked with water when it rained. 

Out on the boulder, where I could listen 
to the road, and look back at porch-screened-in faces.
Behind them, ever more eyes.

SARAH MARCUS is the author of BACKCOUNTRY (2013, Finishing Line Press) and Every Bird, To You (2013, Crisis Chronicles Press). Her other work can be found at NPR’s Prosody: Pittsburgh Radio for Contemporary LiteratureThe Huffington PostMcSweeney’sCimarron ReviewCALYX JournalSporkLuna Lunaand Marie Claire, among others. She is an editor at Gazing Grain Press and a spirited Count Coordinator for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. She holds an MFA in poetry from George Mason University and currently teaches and writes in Cleveland, OH.

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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