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



He plays the music, casting his gaze over his shoulder at her
Her hair obscures the light from her expression
She looks into his cup.

He takes the cup from her as she walks away, the angle cuts her face
The shadows of the fading day follow her into the kitchen
She looks into her cup.

She dances for him, the focus is on her, back, forth, coming close, but not quite near
The light is absorbed by her dark clothes, reflected in her hair
He looks after her, eyes tracking her retreat

The rays from the setting sun lit a sparkle in her eye
The glow off her blonde head lights the scene
He looks up the slit in the back of her shirt

Chipped nail pointed towards him, rebuking, reminding
He laughs, sinking deeper into the couch, conniving
His eyes never leave her

She dances in place, never moving, never looking
She gazes absently off to the left, the light dims.

-BV, Poem #1.1