When I met the Jesus
He took my hand, kissed it.
He told me He was Jesus
Born with black skin.
He didn't tell me to follow Him,
To fall before his feet, to kneel low.
He told me my name
Meant "Heaven on Earth".
He didn't tell me I was hell bound,
Destined for smokey flames and torment.
He told me my nose hairs
Helped me smell the supernatural.
He told me I would be His
Sixteenth consort and bear His first child.
He told me He never truly died,
Just fell into an unconscious dreamscape.
My love for you was never an act of defiance.
It wasn't out of spite against the church or my father.
It wasn't to prove myself to Hospital Jesus or the postman.
It was the unfurling of soft sweet pea tendrils.
It was the dropping of red jasper into a bird bath
and watching the ripples make an O across the bowl.
It was the greening of the heart chakra.
It was the barking out pulses of energy
from the chest and into the fingertips.
It was the opening of the Tennessee irises.
It was the message of a hope, a life worth
living another lonely afternoon.
Two weeks after my 16th birthday I got my big present,
A russet car key pepper spray.
Why is it that
Just from that sentence you can tell I'm female?
My grandfather said it would give him peace of mind,
Because having a car means being alone
And being alone means raped.
And ya know what?
We are simply expected to deal with it.
That's our reality now.
But it isn't that we necessarily like it.
We call it "rape culture".
Hand rape an awareness month, tie it up in a red bow.
Give it a book,
A television show,
A punk song,
But don't dare call it normalized.
But the fact of the matter is ... it is.
We know the horror stories.
It's my mother at a party,
It's best friends and a guys we knew from middle school,
It's a partner who doesn't understand that a second date
doesn't equate to whatever you want whenever you want it.
It's a cycle,
It's "walk fast to your car in the unlit parking lot".
Well ya know what?
I'm not hiding anymore.
I'm not afraid of death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities.
Hang me in the courtyard by the jockstrap and call it justice.
Cut my shorts and call me easy.
I'm through wrapping myself in duct tape turtlenecks and calling it safe.
I'm through assuming men are beasts to fear, or that the beasts do not exist.
I'm through pretending everything is ok.
I'm through being told I'm being too "Feminist" or "Liberal"
Because I don't want to stay at home
Because I'm afraid to be seen alone, vulnerable.
I'm through being prey.
I'm through being afraid of becoming prey
Lane Scoggins is a student at Vol State College. She won first place in the 2018 Tennessee Magazine Poet's Playground in the 19-22 category. She has contributed poetry reviews at Sacred Chickens. Lane is working on a chapbook at this time.