I Knew My Name- Christine Ray

Whisper and the Roar

I knew my name
when grown men
called me ‘honey’
fondled my braids
and pulled my
10-year old body
stiff with resistance
onto their hard laps

I knew my name
when the male high school teacher
called me “sweetie”
and told me not to worry about
the 70 on my exam
because girls don’t need
an A in chemistry
to be a good wife and mother

I knew my name
when the teenage boys
called me ‘ice queen’
‘cock tease’
when I didn’t want their
sloppy tongues down my throat
their rough hands
on my budding breasts

I knew my name
when men followed me
down the street
called me ‘bitch’
‘fucking dyke’
when I wouldn’t smile
or say thank you
to their declarations
of lewd things
they would do to me
once we were alone

I knew my name
when my children
called me ‘mommy’
389 times a day

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