(trigger warning: sexual violence)
When it happened you weren’t really there
you were at home, wine-warmed and watching American Psycho
so it was quite a surprise to see yourself on screen
cast in the role of Victim 1 – you hadn’t even auditioned.
As you bled, and the film was no longer a film
you murmured to yourself let’s try our best not to die
and then hospital lights
and then little cardboard bowls, filling with your vomit
as you hurled back into focus, stomach first
the happiness of having been spared
triggering a string of overshares, here’s one:
well, that was the worst one night stand I’ve ever had
a stricken pause, your brothers’ tear-streaked faces a picture
caught between horror and laughter
I’m still me.
You could see that it was bad:
I might have to take some time off work you said
regarding your blood-blackened hands –
no one disagreed. You shifted in the soiled sheets.
Three days later, you realise no one’s taken a single picture
of you like this, so you dedicate some time
to getting the angles and facial expressions right:
sad, traumatised, hard-core, badass, hospital sass –
you send out a few to close friends with the message
I’m a survivor attached, and they come back
photoshopped, a collaged you in a psychedelic universe
crowded by your favourite ice cream.
Poppy Cockburn is a London-based communications professional working in the visual arts, as well as a writer, photographer and musician. Her photography has appeared in various publications including VICE, Electronic Sound, If You Leave, Notion and The 405. Her poetry has previously been published in Black & Blue. She is a member of the intersectional feminist choir F*Choir and can be found tweeting via @poppypersonism.