“Dame mit Muff,” oil on canvas, by Gustav Klimt, 1916.

by Janna Vought

Fragments of My Rape
Act I

Mosaic memory,
intoxication, swallowed swigs
of beer, Marijuana haze,
unsteady, leaden head, sweltering
dance, tribal beat, sweat
veins, eyes watching,
directionless, blue shirted
boy fading in
and out, metallic voice,
words, ruthless, ravenous,
unhinged beast, friend no
more, heavy hand
fused to spine
propelling, enter, no
choice, close door
from inside, starless
dark, black lake,
shapeless mass, hollow
flame against the door,
wall, window pane,
midnight empty, lie down,
Colorform shrink, shrinky-
dink, don’t resist,
fight back, stay
still, surrender, phantom
music, three faces: one,
bodies battle, limestone
embrace, splintered
breath, swallowed
tongue, belt buckles,
ripped hose, hunchback, black
eyes, God’s eyes,
swine rooting, hot sulfur, saliva
trickle, play dead, skin spits,
wet fire igniting, raw meat, broken
flesh, heart vibrates, red orchid
soft and swollen, rip apart, naked
flesh, forsaken—

the sin! the sin!

fevered hands, bleeding, pain,
explosion, creaking bed
springs, silent weeping,
eye clamp, retreat ,retreat,
dream, nightmare, rumpled
sheets, coward, tease,
slash the lily, slut, whore, pure
and lovely, bruised, broken,
exposed, elbow stabbing,
victim, silent, shattered, shame,
wait for him
to finish, twisted smile,
baptismal blood,
last rites, bragging
rights, cracked light
enters, no tears,
no angels, just ashes,
no escape,

I’m to blame.


Scene II

It began
with the Stain.
The Stain, my Stain
red on a white bedspread
covered with bristles
of nylon thread.
I rinse and scrub, bleach
and dye, I wish the Stain
would vanish, but it refuses
to wash away.


Act II

A virgin until fifteen. His first, second,         third (rape)
victim, prostitute, conquest, boy-toy,

girl slave?

I believed him, trusted         (nobody)         him.
Beautiful boy with no soul (sculpted monster)
left my body
on the bed, fading in

and out

of flesh. Nobody saw
what happened (witness).

My scar (visceral nub) reminds me
of my last virtue


Evidence of his conquest
(corruption) covers me in creeping
rusted brown ivy. Nothing
staves the creature
lurking just beyond the closet door.
Every myth hides a (silent)


hidden         hidden.

I no longer sleep. Past shadows
crawl along the walls. Yellowed darkness
fills my head with bad dreams

(alone in the woods with a basket of muffins for Grandma).

Night sweats, something
wakes me: (haunted) rain
against my bedroom window.
I listen hard, unable to move,
finger taps                 (claws)
of water beading on the panes.
Shallow breaths.
Stay calm.
don’tworrydon’tworrydon’t         worry


don’t take me.

(Don’t) display signs of distress.
Silently lay
siege to myself:

self-mutilate (fist-pummel / razor-slice)
(fail) suicide
eating disorders—purge—forget
alcohol (preserve what remains)
poison by my toxic memory
acquire a new way of living (I once was someone
recline in a perpetual fetal position
hospital gowns
collapse in the ravage and rubble
inside my pentagram chamber.

People don’t disappear in real life.         (Do they?)

Pray.                 I’m lost.

Pray. My voice collides
with sky, shatters, falls to earth
(ash of the incinerated).

Pray. Search of salvation, a tear
into heaven—listen.

Pray        (for response).

Pray. Take Christ into my mouth, gnaw
his flesh until blood fills my mouth,
a hymn never uttered.


Fuck you, God.

No one knows
how close to the edge
my toes cling.
Take flight under an endless
sky, my body found
weeks later. Crawl into a dark cellar—(abandoned)
inward into shadows, away
from my acute


reality where tree roots search
for fault-
lines in the smooth darkness.
Deflowered, (immoral) flesh
and bone devoured by my grave.

It stands in its gray corner by my bed, slowly fading
to the color of old aspirin                 (so slowly).
Heal the wound,

healhealheal                 heal my soul,
until one day, that room from long ago bursts
into pure light,
no trace of the shadow
that kept me company.



Take me, river, swallow my bones
eat oxygen from my breath.
I hate waking, crawling
from the dreams that still cling
to me like weeds and algae.
Life pulls me into rapids, beaten
and scoured, dragged across crags of granite,
pulled under again and again.

I long to recline
at the bottom, slip into glass,
no screams—effortless.
Black lake, black moat, black
paper sodden with shadows.
No moon. No sun.
Liquid arms carry me
around a smooth curve wide
and open, yawning toward
a vanishing point, lungs
split, filled with gentle water.

What if they don’t let me drown?
What if they form search parties
for my body, comb through tangled
knots of bramble lining
the trash choked silt bed?
What if some ill-advised
savior scoops my body from flood
waters where I lie,
star gazing? Let me sleep.
Bring the rain.

omega man

Janna Vought is the author of two books, Evolution of Cocoons: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Mental Illness and Asperger’s and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Her stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Rain, Party, Disaster Society, The Voices Project, When Women Waken Literary Journal, and many other journals. She received her MFA from Lindenwood University and was a 2013 AWP Intro Journals Nominee for Poetry.