when i recoiled
you chose
offense

didn’t think perhaps
there was a reason i drew away?

when i was a young girl
someone a year older than me
tried to rape me,
so forgive me if sometimes
i don’t want to be touched;

sometimes i don’t like affection
because i am afraid of the intentions
of others—

don’t assume that you get to be
familiar with me just because i know you,

sometimes i wish i could be more
open but i have to protect myself and if that
means to be guarded then i will be;
you cannot force me to accept your touch—

i didn’t want you to touch my arm,
that’s okay;
and i’m not sorry for drawing away.

-linda m. crate

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