Duck and Drakes
“I think the duck is trying to escape the drake,” said my father. “Poor girl.”
She had been waddling away from two of them.
On little duck legs,
Beside the covered bridge.
While my nephews fed the geese, I watched her.
Eventually, she flew.
They followed her, circling in the air close behind.
No matter where she lands, they will be there.
Soon, her wings will get tired.
If she could just let go of her wings, her feathered duck body, plump from breadcrumbs.
And her atoms and molecules could be something else, just become the air or the water.
And she could escape.

“I wrote this poem in a survivor poetry workshop, also taught by a survivor.
In the poem, I hint at feelings I had twice after the assault, of wanting to escape my body and become something else. The first time I felt it was immediately after the man left my apartment, and I was alone with my body. I just wanted to take all my skin off and get into something else. The second time was after I had reported to the police and I got the final answer that they had determined there was no crime and weren’t even going to refer it to the District Attorney’s office.
They decided this because I had eventually consented to sex. The thing is, consent isn’t really consent after you’ve said no, which I did, multiple times. He still knew perfectly well I didn’t want to, but he knew he had power over me and that he would eventually defeat me. I reported him as a way of fighting for myself, and to get what happened on the record, as I’m sure he’s done the same to other women. While I wasn’t surprised by the police’s decision, when I got the final word, I was thinking “what now?” I wanted to evaporate into the air; that’s as close as I can come to describing a feeling that I never had before then in my life. That’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to just escape entirely, from all of life. It didn’t last long. But survival is just that. It’s a long and lonely road. Meeting other survivors and walking alongside them occasionally makes it less lonely for a time. My parents have also been very supportive, for which I’m so grateful.” -Lara



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