The Geographic Tongue III

In Greece, a man put his hand up my dress, attempted to grab my vagina. I was 19. There were dogs lapping, pigeons crooning, vendors selling sandals and meat. How strange–the way a foreign language dissipates when someone is preying on your body–how suddenly there is only one universal language. The world calling back to you: You are a woman. Your words are no good here.

The final time a man grabbed me he grabbed my ass. I was at my favorite bar in San Francisco. I broke a PBR bottle on the mahogany and cut his neck open.

This is not true. I was held back by stray men before I could get to the folds in his skin. The bottle hit the linoleum and the bartender kicked me out.

This is not true. A man grabbed me just last week.

My father wants to talk. He’s desperate. He’s sorry. He’s changed. He sends letters to the restaurant, emails to my old friends, presses messages into my brothers, but he dare not call. My male therapist says there’s much to do, but struggles to help me make sense of it. There’s no sense making here. Here, there is nothing and everything coming together to make a slow breath.

When I was 13 my older brother told me to take care of my mustache. I spent years ripping most of the hairs off my face after that. I can still feel the wax warm and running down my lip. He told me: No one is going to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free, after I lost my virginity. He has two little girls now. I wonder what he tells them.

No one has ever lost a virginity. It’s not a bracelet or a mind.

Michael told me I had gained weight. He encouraged me to not order the bread bowl and just have soup. I ordered the bread bowl and let the chowder run down my chin as he sat across from me drinking coffee. Patrick loved it when I gained weight because my breasts would swell up. I don’t know which is worse.

Hey mama, baby, sugar tits, peaches, bitch, little slut, cunt, legs, stems, sexpot, cum guzzler, cum bucket, hoe, cum dump, bitch bitch bitch, girl, little girl, tits, ass, no ass, dumb ass, baby baby baby baby, little stupid fucking bitch whore fucking look at me when I’m fucking talking to you don’t you fucking walk away from me.

When I was 15 I went to a house party and introduced myself to an older man whose name I don’t remember. “Georgia. Nice. I really like those peaches…” He grabbed my left breast and held.

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Georgia Dennison was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana. Her work has appeared in Pacifica Literary Review, Borderlands Review, K’in Literary Journal and Carve Magazine. She resides in Portland, Maine.