Prize Poetry

You Were The First Person

by a young man, age 19

I am still in diapers
When you take my virginity.
You were the first person
Inside me.
It wasn't what it should have been.
Not pure,
It was pitch black.
Hush hush.

I am in a nightgown
When you strike my rib cage.
You were the first person
To leave a bruise on my skin.
Swallowing me up in purple,
Thunder clouds rolling.
A silent storm.

I am in shorts and a t-shirt
When you tell me to stop eating.
You were the first person
Who showed me how to hate myself.
You were meant to take care of me.
Not train me to cut,
                                           kill myself.
You set a ball rolling.
I raced downhill.

I am in a hospital gown.
When the memory of your hands around my throat takes over.
You were the first person
Who tried to kill me.
When you finished hurting me, I took over the job.
We have both left scars,
on this body
of mine.

I am in dress pants and someone else's blouse
When I walk into the court room to face you one last time.
You were the first person
I was afraid of.
But not anymore.
You are a small,
But the justice system fails me.
You walk free.

I am wearing a shirt and tie
When I walk down the street unafraid.
You were the first person
To teach me that I can survive anything.
I am my own human now.
With a different gender,
You no longer control
Who I am.

[Author’s statement: Charlie is a 19 year old trans man living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He wrote this poem about the abuse he suffered throughout the majority of his childhood and adolescence. He is currently studying Counseling and Creative Writing at Lesley University and he hopes to someday help people find their ways of coping the way poetry has helped.]

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