2 Poems | Lydia Havens

Why I “Let it Happen”

because the man thought of himself as a little god
because the man thought of himself as a little death

because I was 13, belly always sloshing with summer
because I was a child, body beginning to bloom like witchcraft

because I had access to a camera phone
because I had access to a computer
because I was alone

because the 1500 miles between us never mattered to him
because his weapons of choice were my hometown & IP address

because he said, let me see some skin
because he said, no, you’re a beautiful woman
because he said, I’ll find you if you say no again

because my brain is cracked with white noise & forgetfulness now
because I wanted to drop every mirror to the bottom of the ocean
because I shattered every lightbulb in the bathroom sockets
because my trauma soaked through all the clothes he never took off

because 4 years later, a specialist said he didn’t consider this traumatic
because 4 years later, a specialist said he didn’t consider this abusive

because it took me 4 years to even tell my parents
because for those 4 years I was afraid of him, but also myself

because his name was Michael
because he lived in Washington
because he was in his mid-20’s

because I couldn’t even identify him in a lineup
because I’m still scared of myself

but also because I’m not scared to talk about it now
but also because as the adult, he knew better
but also because as the adult, you shouldn’t have blamed me
but also because I bought new lightbulbs today
but also because my memory is not the enemy
but also because I don’t know where he is anymore

but I am still here.


In Which my Compulsory Heterosexuality Turns me Into a Wolf
(Originally appeared on author’s blog)

The moon comes out, and it is telling me
to like boys. I am out of my own cycle.
I have teeth that gnaw on the skeleton
of my first kiss. My mind is full-throat
howling. It is saying,

that should’ve been with a man,
not a girl who nearly pushed you down
the stairs once.

How strange it is to be everything
my paternal grandmother’s footprints
warned me not to be. How curious
it can be to become both the killer
and the prey. I am looking into
my own eyes, begging for some
new kind of mercy.

I don’t know whether I’ll listen
or not.

Lydia Havens is a poet and performer currently living in Tucson, Arizona. Her work has been published in Words Dance, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, FreezeRay Poetry, and Persephone’s Daughters, among other places. She is the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam Youth Champion, and the author of the chapbook Warrior Worrier. Lydia currently works for Spoken Futures, Inc., a non-profit in Southern Arizona that strives to empower youth voices through spoken word. You can find out more about her on her website, www.lydiahavens.com.


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