How I Am Not Like Donald Trump
Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
        Response to “Poet Responds,” for R.C. and other confused people

Yesterday I felt the thing
I was trying not to feel:

dissociative, outside myself. I was hurt
by a man. He wanted my grand

canyon. I said, No. By which I meant
No. Sometimes I feel locked in

by those who would sweat in hot cars for hours
just to stand and look at me while I sleep & people think

I am lying. I was only ten, or fifteen or twenty, a wonder
of a woman for the taking surrounded by dicks,

huge & over me in nightmares. Men think I fake
my anxiety. Men travel for days

to look inside my canyon, which
is to say

the unprotected space. Sometimes
I might as well pretend to sleep

rather than explain what is on top of me
& wait for him to finish or my head hits

the ground. What I'm trying to say
largely & with words you say

can't hurt
is that every little girl is the pussy

he's been grabbing, is not a whore
but the child detectives find lying

after missing for years, trying to speak,
trying to believe

someone will speak for her. Not
(oh my fucking

  God) against her.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first full-length book, Before Isadore, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. She is an associate poetry editor for The Boiler Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the following: Salt Hill, Stirring, Versal, The Texas Observer, Devil's Lake, Four Way Review, among others. Hardwick also has chapbooks out with Thrush Press and Mouthfeel Press.