What Were You Wearing

I wrote this a few years ago, in response to the Slutwalk movement and conversations around how the clothing women wear can ultimately be held more responsible for their assaults than the assailant.

(Yes, I know I was going to post poems on Thursdays, but I say better late than losing the habit.)

Also, trigger warning for sexual assault and general horribleness.


Wilhelm_Amberg_In_Gedanken_versunkenWhat Were You Wearing

What were you wearing that day?
What cloth, plus a body to lead him astray
What fabric (the spell –
How we knew Adam fell)
Tell me, what were you wearing that day

I was wearing my eyebrows pulled tight
And my eyelids hid eyes out of sight
And I wore out my teeth
With a grinding beneath
Wearing darkness as cover of night

My nightgown had penguins that danced
Made of flannel, and white underpants
That my mother had bought
At a bargain priced shop
By a sign marked, “Clearance, last chance.”

A uniform, that’s what he wore
I’ll tell no one else, that’s what I swore
Then I just wore his hands
And his whispered demands
And the sliver of light from the door

What were you wearing that day?
The men in the uniforms say
And my voice disappears
Too gone now for tears
It’s another thing he’s stripped away

I remember what I wore that day.

by Heather Emme

To read all the #verseday poems, click here. To read my twitter poems, click here.

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2 thoughts on “What Were You Wearing

  1. Heather, thank you so much for sharing your work! You are so smooth and lyrical with your rhyme, rhythm & blues. I always envy someone who can show so well and tell a story with such strength. And when paired with such a gut wrenching story, you have my heart racing.

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