Tuesday 11 February 2020

Indelible in the Hippocampus

by Imogen Arate

Strolling two blocks from my residence 
Seeking sanctuary in a community 
Growing hostile toward this transplant 
Chasing a better life but marginalized 
Through historical mistrust 
Grown out of prejudice 
Adding layers of otherness
Because she, I, dared to speak up 
Against an assault by a pervy resident

Stepped into a cocooned trap
Because the police refused to investigate 
The judge refused to grant a restraint 
That beautiful living space
Basked in the warmth of a winter's fire
And idealized budding communal friendship 
Will soon conspire to prove its disdain 
Toward an acquaintance framed as the other
To protect their own long-term predator
And lies are buttressed against nuanced facts
Given priority absent the system's desire 
To deal an even hand for shielding those already in power

As I fled in the night toward a safer harbor
Frightful of another assault he'd be encouraged 
To pursue after he'd witness their enabling
Those short two blocks 
Stretched to a length unending 
More gaslit than a nineteenth-century Champs-Élysées

Don't demand from me forgiveness 
When those words of apologies 
Come with rationalizations
To hitch the yolk of responsibility
Unto one who ran but could not get away
Weighed down by sickness and exhaustion 
Used as excuses to further violate
I can't offer absolutions 
When I'm kept busy 
Fending off daggers 

Now a year removed from this heartbreak
Though I've been repeatedly prevented 
From seeking justice 
I swore I would transfer their power
To those without patronage 
Help augment the voices 
Of those forced to whisper 
And I'm keeping my word with my actions 
To counter the hypocrisy of those polite impostors
More keen to preserve their comforting lies 
Than to dismantle the nightmares of their creation

* * * * *

"Indelible in the Hippocampus" is also read and discussed on Poets and Muses 5/6/19,

Imogen Arate is a US-based Poet and the Executive Producer and Host of Poets and Muses (https://poetsandmuses.com/), a weekly poetry podcast where she chats with poets about their inspirations. She has written in verse since her tween years, in four languages and published in two (English and French). While Imogen has always utilized poetry as a vehicle for self expression, she has also found it to be an effective therapeutic tool in coping with a recent trauma.