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October: I'm eighteen, shortcutting home
through an autumn-burnished churchyard -
copper-lustred leaves, moss-skinned stone -
a jaunty swing of skater skirt and arm,
college folder square-sturdy in my hand.
In the moment. In the last pale pulse of sun.

"Hey, can you tell me...?"
I halt. I turn...

Cold earth. Colder blade dimpling my skin.
My coral cameo earrings scatter,
daisy-dotting the green.
My back is spiked by needles of yews.
Sun skews, sky side-slides
until his face is the firmament.
I'm staring into the tumid blank-bloat of blue;
the ground hardening beneath me,
the death-spike trees stiffening.

Heavy Special Brew breaths.
Grubby, moist fingers
like grubs crawling over my breasts,
and, weirdly, I'm smelling pepper -
horror-spice of pungent lust,
its acrid nose-thrust -
and woodsmoke is drifting from somewhere...
lung-flame, tongue-flames
of searing words - his words -
blazing like the umber tumbling leaves.

Fear-forced bargaining, but I'm beyond care.
And I'm aware
of the church steeple rising,
its phallus penetrating sky.
The tilting church could topple
as tears crystal-crush in my eyes.
Fear-faint, already half gone
in a soundless scream, my muted mouth
mouths silent goodbyes
to Sarah, to Mum.

Time slows to a crawl.
I try to call. Nobody comes
but the man who has me ground-pinned.
Bleachy stink of semen
whitening my ripped skater skirt,
but some things don't fade
and there is no clean in this, just dirt,
wet leaf-mulch, shame.
Ineradicable hurt.

Sacred soil is soiled, sullied.
Stunned, I stumble
shoeless, knickerless,
into the trees and heave
into the mud, into the leaves
strings of spittle-sick,
my thoughts strung out,
reality spun out.

From stinking, pulped leaves I retrieve
crushed coral earrings,
ground-grimy knickers,
my white court shoes
that whitely scream the 80s,
the scattered tatters of essays -
white, like fallen feathers, sunk in the sludge,
muddied, the red-inked words bloodied.
I gather them together.
Gather myself.
I go

forward into my future, stained from pain
and tainted touch, the smears of fear, self-disgust.
And oozing slime-soft into my ears
the mire of incongruous apology: I'm sorry
don't tell anyone - I won't.

I don't.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016

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Date: 3/4/2020 7:30:00 PM
wow, this is extraordinary in every way. it's almost too real for me, confronting, great writing Charlotte.
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Date: 2/3/2020 4:07:00 AM
Thank you for sharing. Now it has been told. I do not have more words for this ...
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Date: 1/2/2020 4:38:00 AM
Wow, what a powerful poem and an extraordinary write. I am so sorry that you went through this. I know you said it was healing to write. I am adding this to my faves.
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Date: 10/14/2019 1:52:00 PM
WOW! Just WOW Excellent writing for a most difficult topic. Good on you for posting Charlotte, Respect!
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Date: 2/20/2019 5:51:00 PM
Hello Chrlotte Jade Puddifoot, whether we wnat to or not a rape should be reported. That person should be in jail. have a nice evening my friend.
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Date: 11/21/2018 10:46:00 AM
What a great expression of the was so vivid..I could feel the pain of the victim almost like real..the fear and helplessness
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Date: 8/22/2018 1:37:00 PM
Just found this in the top 100 list. This poem just gut punches the reader with its directness and imagery. Such a powerful write.
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Date: 7/2/2018 12:30:00 PM
It took me a long time to read this. I'm glad I finally did. Hugs. Incredible piece. xomo
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Date: 1/5/2018 4:49:00 PM
What a powerful write about a 'quick' moment causing trauma and scars last a lifetime. Congrats on your win, Charlotte.
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Date: 1/2/2018 3:45:00 PM
Such horror, if only it was fantasy & not reality if only all monsters were marked so we would know to stay far far away from them! Thank you, Charlotte you are one special person, strong, fierce yet maintaining such sensitivity. Light & Love Always
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Date: 12/30/2017 7:45:00 PM
Charlotte, congratulations on this wonderful write. Powerful write :'( Hugs eve ~`*
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Date: 12/30/2017 7:33:00 PM
Powerful description of the horror experienced, Charlotte--CONGRATS! Janice
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Date: 12/30/2017 7:26:00 PM
I know this poem very well, for I placed it first in one of my first contests ... and so deserving! Congrats again for another award with this extraordinary, powerful write! <3
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Date: 12/30/2017 7:08:00 PM
Dropping back again with my congrats Charlotte this is the most exceptional piece of writing I have read and re read in a long time - it should be published to a much wider audience than soup! :-) hugs jan xx
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Date: 7/15/2017 3:09:00 PM
This one as I've mentioned before is a spectacular write, you are in your own league Charlotte, a privilege to have you in the soup, congrats on another number 1 win. Of course subject matter is horrifying and no one should experience this!
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Date: 7/15/2017 10:55:00 AM
Dropping back with my congrats on your powerful free verse poem. your vivid descriptive write makes it almost too painful to read Charlotte:-( hugs jan xx
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Date: 7/15/2017 10:11:00 AM
The act is shocking, but your verse is superb! Very nicely done, indeed.
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Date: 7/15/2017 7:10:00 AM
Back for Congratulations on you most deserved first place win!
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Rodrigues Avatar
Kim Rodrigues
Date: 7/15/2017 7:11:00 AM
Date: 7/15/2017 6:55:00 AM
This was so extraordinarily powerful and moving, but also extremely well-penned, and a great poem can not ride on just intensity alone, but also be conveyed with artistry - this did so to perfection, in my opinion. Congratulations on FIRST PLACE, Charlotte, and thank you for entering my contest!
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Date: 7/11/2017 8:35:00 AM
Knowing your poem would be intense...I approached aware of sensitivities, Charlotte...I have 2 grown daughters and have been called in the middle of the nite when they were teens to defend...vulnerabilty...the female condition in western ((& many) cultures made me teach my daughters numerous defense tactics to repel unforseen situations...its been close on a couple occasions...but have survived...the oldest just married a decent man...the younger about to in 6wks.may God be at your side...jimbo
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Date: 7/11/2017 1:24:00 AM
Some non physical wounds remain unseen from everyone...but they are really very brave to express all this.. powerful words you have .... Humanity seems very low in this world...
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Date: 7/10/2017 8:43:00 PM
Charlotte ,it is really an amazing piece... I am unable to pen my sympathies but yes it would be a great victory to your poem and my friend to you too..Always be brave to write..With lots of love. :)
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Date: 7/8/2017 5:43:00 AM
Hi Charlotte, two things struck me 1. Your incredible courage and bravery 2. Turning adversity into something exquisitely beautiful. Gobsmacked here. No theres another 3. Publicising it takes balls. You should get a congressional medal of honour for this.
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Date: 5/13/2017 5:35:00 PM
I read and had saved this poem earlier today. It had a real impact on me. This is such a horrific situation and one that has consumed my thoughts today. You're extraordinarily talented. I pray that this write is not from a personal experience. A very brave write.
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Date: 5/13/2017 12:15:00 PM
This is beyond magnificent as far as the art of poetry goes. The story is horrific and makes us wonder why there are monsters in our midst. Too many monsters. I hope and pray this did not happen to you but I fear it may have. You are and will always be one of the best poets I have ever read. My respect for you is immense. Have you read the poem entitled "The Rape Joke" by Patricia Lockwood? A totally different approach but interesting. This is a huge fav for me, HUGE! Lots Of Love,armand.
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