I was a sex object when I didn’t want to be and she—
She was powerless to protect me.
I learned the way a woman is supposed to be
By sneaking into the living room
Only to catch my dad watching porn.
I didn’t know there was a name for what he watched
in the dark.
I just remember the feeling in my stomach
Seeing topless women roaming around,
bouncing up and down,
making funny sounds.
I remember the panic in my chest,
the shame forged in the pit of my throat.
I learned the way to live in denial
Of what I would later learn to recognize as betrayal
When, at a young age,
I happened upon photos of women all addressed “To Tommy”.
Who the hell is Tommy?
I thought my dad’s name was Tom.
Without permission I was touched,
I was watched,
I was invaded.
Nobody tried to stop him.
Nobody cared to listen to my silent cries.
I was a play thing,
A show piece.
Just as they were.
And every time I die inside.