The first time they touched me, their fingers burned
slaps searing like the coffee I refused to relinquish

Engineer or engineered differently?
Should my breasts be bared to validate my womanhood?

Male hands check for me, my back meeting the lab table for the first time
sharply smacking the surface I stand behind proudly in the daylight

Four letters. One plea. You say slut when you hear help from me
if I waved a pure, white flag, would you spot it red?

I eat a cheeseburger, it crawls its way back up; it’s OK.
it wouldn’t have helped to fill the curves you say don’t exist anyway

My plastic safety glasses catch liquid from inside
I leave my hair down, not as femininity, but to shelter me from your breath behind

My teeth rip blood from my lip, mocking what you say you will do to my hymen
Suck it up. Stuttered breaths with no air are all I will suck in.

Girls in engineering aren’t ‘real’ girls,” you say.
Fake girls can be raped.


-BV, Poem 2


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