when i wore that dress to his birthday party, what i was trying to say was don’t stick your hand down my dress. that’s what i try to say with everything i wear, but sometimes more than others.

like when i go to a party by myself. like when i get drunk. like when i get drunk at a party i came to by myself.

like when my drink is spiked. like when i call my friends because i can’t hold myself up in the bathroom. like when no one answers. like when i know i’ll get picked up at ten o’clock but it’s nine and i’m scared.

like when i don’t understand sexual harassment enough to see it coming.

like when i forget a girl can be sexually harassed by a girl.

like when she breathes against my neck. like when she pulls me against herself and tries to blow her cigar smoke in my mouth. like when i push her away and she grabs me again. like when her hugs last too long. like when she won’t stop putting her hands on me. like when i move outside and she still won’t stop putting her hands on me.

like when it’s ten o’clock and my friends are running late. like when i keep texting people ‘i didn’t expect to get this drunk.’ like when my friends show up and she tells them i can’t leave. like when she pulls on my arm like i am a rag doll. like when they both pull on my arms like i am a rope in a tug-of-war. like when she follows me inside when i go to get my things. like when she screams that my ‘bra is so sexy’ to everyone in the house. like when she tells everyone in the house to come look at my bra. like when she sticks her hand down my dress to pull at my bra.

like when she sticks her hand down my dress like when she sticks her hand down my dress like when she sticks her hand down my dress

i am not saying stop because i never said go. i am not saying no because i thought i was saying no by wearing skin, having eyes, by being called a human, by not saying yes, by not taking her hand and putting it down my dress, by not asking for it with my mouth. dresses cannot ask for it. i did not ask for it. i did not ask for it.

it is months before i wear the dress again. i look in the mirror and my stomach hurts. the dress is my favorite shade of blue. it is high necked and goes down to just above my knees. there’s a cut out in the back.

once i sat in the back seat of a car with a boy and he told me i looked pretty in that dress. he didn’t try to stick his hand down it.

i think, what am i trying to say with this dress? i think, maybe i’m saying the wrong thing with this dress. i think, how is this dress talking without me? i think, this dress cannot talk without me. i think, this dress cannot say anything that i do not say with my mouth.

i think, what i am trying to say is don’t stick your hand down my dress.


Gabriela Gonzales a Creative Writing major at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee who is in love with the written word and the way it can take people away from the real world. Gabriela’s poetry and flash fiction have previously received recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and won first place for fiction in the Sandra Hutchins’ Humanities Symposium Writing Awards two years in a row, had a poem featured in a publication of the Live Poet’s Society of NJ, was recognized as one of the top ten youth playwrights in Denver, Colorado, and had a flash fiction piece published in the Belmont Literary Journal. Gabriela really appreciate giraffes, the oxford comma, and babies dressed like hipsters.