C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

September

By: Ashley Rae MᶜAtee


Last year, in late September, I finally spilled my guts.

Sixteen years after the Thing, 

               the incident

               I never gave a name

               but spoke of only

               in short fits in the darkest corner

               of any loud, thumping party

One college roommate

 I never reported him

Two girls in a bathroom

           The same thing happened to us

Three coworkers at happy hour

 I signed the NDA, did you?

They heard pieces of my story 

and I heard theirs.

               We’d nod, eyes locked, a promise 

               to hold these truths

               in the absence of justice

               certain

               there’d be no reckoning

               no wrath to come down

               and smite them where they stood

               no plague on the houses where they ignored us

               or tricked us

               or suppressed our rejection 

               and pressed us

into couch-cushioned silence.

I spent half my life like this,

               a human dam.

My body:

               part walls,

                              warping and bending

                              groaning against the weight,

               part water,

                              rushing to the valve

                              yearning for a leak in the night.

But last year, in late September, there was a thunderstorm.

               The rain came down

                              on newspapers 

                              held over heads, soaked 

                              and stained with the running of ink.

The storm rolled through

               lightning cracking,

                              slapping us out of our silence,

And the thunder—

               oh, the thunder—

could shatter the sound

of a thousand secrets screamed 

into the shaking of sky.

In a storm like that,

you can let the dam break 

and nobody

will say it was your fault.




Ashley Rae MᶜAtee (she/her) is an emerging artist and poet living in Los Angeles, California. Her work explores the experience of healing from trauma and living under patriarchy, climate change and late capitalism. She studied at The Ohio State University and works as a Creative Community Professional.

"In September 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford told the US Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her thirty-six years earlier. Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony was hauntingly familiar to me and to thousands of other victims. In an effort to convince the members of judiciary committee (as well as our uncles, our colleagues, and strangers on the internet) of the credibility and humanity we saw in Dr. Blasey Ford, many of us opened up about personal traumas we had long kept secret. We believed there was power in our stories, and despite the continued dismantling of women’s rights, I still do. Sharing my story was the beginning of a healing journey that led me back to poetry after a long hiatus. I wrote “September” during a 2019 poetry workshop with fellow feminist writers in my Los Angeles community."

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