I know a woman

who knows what it means

to be held down by

ten boys and raped


who didn’t tell anyone

for twenty years.


I know a woman

who knows what it means

to have her girlfriend’s

father slide his finger up

her thigh at the kitchen table,

who didn’t tell anyone

for thirty years

and then it just felt like

too much time had passed

and he really didn’t do anything,

anyway, not like the man

in the woods where she

was walking five years later.


I know a woman

who knows what it means

to be visited at night

by her father, how she

stayed quiet, hoping

her sister in the next bed

wouldn’t wake up

and become his next

victim, who didn’t tell

anyone for 35 years,

still believing he would

kill her. When

he died last year,

she finally confided

in her sister,

who knew exactly

what she meant.


I know a woman

who knows what it means

to be groped by a boss,

patted on the ass by

a customer, fired

for not acquiescing

to him, or him or him.


After 10, 20, 30 years

she is speaking up

and he and he and he

are finally getting

their balls busted.




Wilderness Sarchild is the author of a full-length poetry collection, “Old Women Talking,” published by Passager Books, and the co-author of “Wrinkles, the Musical”, a play about women and aging that had its World Premiere at the Cape Cod Theatre Company (CCTC) in 2017 and will return to CCTC in 2018. She has won awards for her poetry and play writing from Veterans for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Chicago’s Side Project Theatre Company, and the Joe Gouveia WOMR National Poetry competition, judged by Marge Piercy. Wilderness is also an expressive arts psychotherapist, social justice activist, and consultant/teacher of skills in conflict resolution, consensus decision making, mediation, and meeting facilitation.