What would you change—if you could go back,
to that moment—the one in which your voice
first felt its most insignificant?
I mean this to say:
what if it mattered to me,
how you felt in that moment— so much so
that I would give my life to let you know?
I mean this to say: my sons will not put their hands on people
who have not asked for their hands—like in a community pool
when a girl is fourteen and had not seen this boy since 6th grade;
nor will my sons laugh at your daughter as she cries
on the bench outside the pool because
no one had ever touched her there before
or because it didn’t stop when she said no, or no again;
because it didn’t stop until she climbed out of the pool running
and because even after she did, not a single adult set their drink down.
Surely, had some words been spoken, this girl would feel less concern years later,
when grabbing the hand of her partner at a wedding where they are the only
two women in love.
Years later their faces still linger
in the pool as you run,
as people watch you run,
as no one stops you from running,
& years later when you see his name pop up online and there’s a photo of him
with kids and they’re his kids, you hope he teaches them both consent.