Poem | Requiem
Trigger warning: this piece contains themes of sexual assault
Once upon a time
when I was a little girl
people used to tell me that I had the most beautiful feet in the entire world.
On balmy summer nights illuminated by the aurora of the celestial moon
I strode to the quaint movie theater downtown with my two best friends
and modeled twinkling jeweled sandals
with a shiny silver leather sole and glittering gems marked by the colors
of our annoyingly patriotic American national anthem.
As we impatiently lingered in line for buttered popcorn and syrupy candy
I caught you gawking at my freshly painted cotton candy pink toenails,
the aquamarine friendship bracelet with indigo heart shaped beads on my right
and my smooth tanned freckled skin wrapped tightly around my calves.
You grinned with your eyes and told me,
What beautiful feet you have.
I was the girl with the scarlet cape, preyed on by the big bad wolf.
Emerald eyes greedily pursued the rapturous scent of my skeleton
from the top of my frizzy bronze hair
to the ten little piggies traveling to the market
at the chasm of my innocently chaste legs.
Dilated pupils behaved like immature schoolchildren
landing on the tops of my hooves and shrieking,
Tag you’re it.
The vile revolting remark manifested an eternal butterfly effect of tragic events.
As my life of chaos theory unfolded, I began to observe everything occurring
like the way women gaped at my extraordinary exterior
wondering why the impeccable genetics of my blooming essence did not
spawn out of their own flesh and blood.
Missing Child papers brutally taped to deteriorating wooden telephone poles
in my neighborhood constantly caught my eye.
Men meticulously marveled at my overtly objectified physique, plotting the
peculiar ways they could devour me in a wonderland of delirium and then eject
me out like
the tough distasteful pit after you consume the luscious nectar of a fleshy peach.
As I aged and developed into an adolescent,
my feet learned how to bear the pressure from society to mindlessly submit and
perform demands like one of the Pharoah’s numerous slaves, motivated by the
crack of a whip.
This sheltered me from evil sin so I could stay safe and preserve my innocence,
But let’s be honest,
My two squarish feet crooned the requiem of my innocence
the moment you laid your deep set eyes on me.
The earth held my feet up when I felt no one else would
instead of sinking into the magma 2732 degree flaming pits of infernal hell.
My feet learned how to curl themselves in my shoes as a fear mechanism
when you terrified the life out of me.
My feet learned how to run the dreaded mile on a school track,
training me for fleeing from future abductors.
Women told me: remember to tiptoe away slowly first,
but don’t let the rubber of your shoes squeak out of fear,
and don’t you dare forget from what distance to kick them when
bad guys decide to attack, which I calculated as exactly 0.000762 km, but…
When did I become defined as a commodity for depravity and corruption,
a prized trophy through the process of manipulation and satisfaction?
When did I become prepared to strike from a specific radius?
Did it start when I paid attention to all the
immorally indecent instances happening to me?
Did it start when you condemned me to a world of exploitation and molestation
by making your one, single, disgusting comment about my feet?
Well I guess I’d rather take a foot bath in hydrochloric acid,
hurl my patriotic shoes into the abyss of space and collide into the moon,
have schoolchildren tear my messily painted toenails off my toes one by one,
and destroy my ankle bones with a 20-pound sledgehammer
instead of having to face you, the big bad wolf,
defend myself and conquer you, exactly 0.000762 km away,
before your debauched dreams poison my innocence
and everything, dare let me say every, single, thing, society
and those women told me about you becomes true.
While they sing the requiem of my innocence
as I collapse alone into a mirage of desolation,
and I hear the echoes of phantoms
telling me how I had the most beautiful feet in the world.
About the Author
Dowd is a Nicaraguan-American high school junior from New Hampshire. Her writing often revolves around issues of social justice, feminism and activism.