When I was younger I wrapped myself up in a blanket of wine
It was my disguise, and I would flounder
Under the technicolour lights of the dancefloor
Until I became the woman I both adored and abhorred.
But there was a freedom in that clattering din
As skin rubbed against skin, the sticky sin
Of the vodka that poured, like a sickly fountain,
And we swilled it, willed it, through our blood
And we learnt to forget, we could be transformed
Into wild creatures who were left behind when the night ended
And I gave myself into it, this heady dream,
But they took me away from it, those figures, I see them
Lurking at the door, I see their shadows and how I begged
No, not more!
But they only ever wanted more, more and more and more
They didn’t care for your face although they would say
I like your eyes, you’re beautiful, how they lied
And I remember how I said, although I might be wrong,
Amidst the choking din of the latest hot song
No, I did, I did say no, although the years might have made
My memories cloudy and vague, there is no forgetting
The glut of the rampage, and I feel them on me even now
The stink of their sweat still clings to me, congealing,
How guilty I felt when I finally came back to life screaming
No, I did not want this, no I know I did not,
But they’d call me a whore, I was the one who enticed them on
Hungry gannets, their claws left bruises that could not heal
You see they forgot how to feel in the heat of the club
Lust a brutal drug, a passing excuse to conquer
A girl they picked up and put down again
Like a sweet drink overrun with sugar
They spat me out, destroyed me, made me feel complicit
As if eliciting my body from me was somehow what I wanted
And I see them still, their faces different
Because monsters like that wear many masks
And they loom in my nightmares cloaked in
Dark rooms and dark deeds, the long walk the next day
The lingering dismay, that lingers still because
The shame never fades, and I can’t talk about it
Because when I do I see their smirks and hear their
Triumphant words passing through my mind
Because although they took my body from me
My mind suffered, and so hear this now,
My will and my body are mine alone to give
So touch me when, yes, only I allow.


Rose Staveley-Wadham