Jennifer Perrine

After My Sister Reports the Rape


The first thing they say is: It's not your fault.
The second is: But why weren't you aloft,
perched high, on watch? A boat's bound to get mired
if you sail through muck. Don't hold it against

the sea if you can't tell storm from calm, salt
scrape in your lungs from the sting of brine quaffed
willingly. Third: We're concerned. You look tired,
fevered, tern soaked in oil, alight, incensed.

Next time, you won't signal for help. You'll prize
yourself from the wreck, swim to shore. You'll trace
a course through quays and docks until you're sunned

to leather. You'll board new ships in the guise
of wretch and rogue. You'll scoundrel and scapegrace.
Next time you find him, you won't be outgunned.