The Maynard
Spring 2015

Ruth Daniell

January is terrible so far

She accepted a ride back home
from a family friend
she met at a Christmas party. He seemed nice.
Invited himself up. Helped carry her bags.
Then stayed for hours with her, stayed
in ways that mean she’ll have to relearn touch
can be good. I receive this news over the phone.
My friend is crying because this happened
to her girlfriend and she doesn’t know how
to help and she’s sorry to call me so upset so stop her
if she’s talking too much and I can’t handle it
but she didn’t know who else to call
or anyone else who’d know best what her girlfriend
needs right now. I recite the standard things against
infection and pregnancy, trauma
and self-blame. Insist how possible the healing
journey is but the length of it curls up in me
like a rumpled area rug, a tripping hazard,
and I’m angry she has to make it
at all. How many years before I could
make love in the dark without being afraid
you would magically transform
into someone I didn’t want to know
and couldn’t see. How many years for my friend’s
girlfriend before she can hear someone say slut
and not feel it echo in that family friend’s voice
above the bed she felt she’d die in. I don’t want
to be melodramatic but when you arrive home
from work tonight with a bouquet of yellow lilies
and daisies dyed purple—their usual centres
stained an odd turquoise—it seems like a miracle
that anything helps.