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When You Listen

When you talk about rape -
when you run the scalpel down your scar,
when you peel away your armor,
when you stand and say,
this happened,
this happens every day,
this is happening right now -

When you say
this is the culture that lets this happen,
this is the broken world,
this is a thousand eyes turned away,

because to see and not take action is monstrous,
but there is no crime if you just. don’t. see -

When you see, when you speak,
when you listen -

When it is known that you will listen -

The world opens itself
like the Nile flooding.

When those with matching scars
hear your voice
they find their own.

When you listen,
they will come to you;
they will fill you with their songs,
haltingly from disused throats,
growing stronger in chorus.

When you sit quietly,
when you are open,
your sisters and brothers
connect, spin out from you,
fractals across the world,
each a link to others.

When you speak,
and when you listen,
they are not alone.

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Posted by Shira

Shira formerly served as a volunteer with BARCC's Survivor Speakers Bureau and Prevention Services. She also formerly worked as BARCC's volunteer and program assistant. Shira also writes science fiction and fantasy short stories and poetry, and much of her outreach was done within the community of science-fiction fandom and the closely-allied local polyamory community.

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