“I have only a story and my belief in the power of story to save us.”
– by Bruce Weigl.
“We are beings who require language to be. It is an existential imperative that people share stories. Indeed, the human experience is contingent upon the interaction of stories.”
– by Frances Driscoll, a survivor of rape and a writer with the power to heal through poetry as a way to process pain, giving voice to the voiceless.
Island of the Raped Women
There are no paved roads here
And all of the goats are well-behaved.
Mornings, beneath thatched shelters,
we paint wide-brimmed straw hats.
We paint them inside and outside.
We paint very very fast.
Five hats a morning.
We paint very very slow.
One hat a week.
All of our hats are beautiful
and we all look beautiful in our hats.
Afternoons, we take turns:
mapping baby crabs moving in and out of sand,
We make orange and almond cake.
This requires essence and rind.
Whipped cream. Imagination.
We make soft orange cream.
This requires juice of five oranges and juice of one lemon.
(Sometimes we substitute lime for the lemon. This is also good.)
An enamel lined pan.
Four egg yolks and four ounces of sugar.
This requires careful straining,
Constant stirring, gentle whisking.
Watching for things not to boil.
Waiting for things to cool. We are good at this.
We pour our soft orange cream into custard cups.
We serve this with sponge cake.
Before dinner, we ruffle pink sand from one another’s hair.
This feels wonderful and we pretend to find the results interesting.
We all eat in moderation
and there is no difficulty swallowing.
We go to bed early.
(Maybe, we even turn off lights. Maybe, we even sleep naked. Maybe.)
We all sleep through the night.
We wake eager from dreams
filled with blue things and designs for hats.
At breakfast, we make a song,
Chanting our litany of so much collected blue.
We do not talk of going back to the world.
We talk of something else sweet to try with the oranges: Sponge custard.
Served with thick cream or perhaps with raspberry sauce.
We paint hats. We paint hats.