they did

Jane Shi

you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your father could do this to your mother.
you don’t believe your mother could do this to your sibling.
you don’t believe your teacher could
you don’t believe your best friend could

you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your father could do this to your mother.
you don’t believe your mother could do this to your sibling.
you don’t believe your teacher could
you don’t believe your best friend could               you couldn’t believe
you don’t believe your police officer could             you could do this
you don’t believe your social worker could           to the ones you love
you don’t believe your favourite writer could             (and don’t)
you don’t believe your therapist could                       but you did.
you don’t believe your religious leader could              you did.
you don’t believe your activist family could
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
you don’t believe your queer friend could do this to your other queer friend.
but they did. they did.

 


Author statement:

“I can’t believe it.” “They’re a good person.” “They could never…” These words are so familiar they’re almost tattooed on my skin. But sometimes I also wonder if I am somebody else’s “couldn’t have possibly done it.” With the cruel and unrelenting attention in the media on famous and powerful men in #CanLit, academia, the theatre world, the music industry, the comedy world, and the U.S. government, to name a few, it’s easy to forget how ordinary sexual violence and abuse are.

I wrote this poem because I can no longer put any more of this news in my body. I wrote it to puncture the inflated hot air balloon that is the mainstream media, constantly edging out queer and trans stories of violence that happen in my communities every day. To grieve the messiness, repressed so deep within us that we become experts at pretending. Which survivors get believed? If we so easily learn to protect the most violent instincts within us, can we also learn to trust what our bodies remember?

Learn more about Turtle Island Responds

Jane Shi is a queer Chinese settler writing and living on the unceded traditional and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish First Nations. Her poetry has appeared in LooseLeafPoetry Is Deadditch,, and Tributaries, and is forthcoming in SAD Mag. When she’s not eating dumplings, dancing, and watching stressful documentaries about cults, she organizes art workshops for Chinese seniors at WePress Vancouver and is a student at The Writer’s Studio Online at Simon Fraser University. She can be found on Twitter and Facebook @Pipagaopoetry.

Pre-order Our Next Issue

Room 45.2 Cover

ROOM 45.2 TIPPING POINT
Edited by Lue Palmer
Assistant Edited by Micah Killjoy
Shadow Edited by Ruchika Gothoskar and Omi Rodney

In This Issue: Eberechukwu Peace Akadinma, N.B., Manahil Bandukwala, Chief Lady Bird, Myriam J.A. Chancy, .chisaraokwu., Michelle Contant, Morgan Cross, Jaki Eisman, Ava Fathi, Maria Ford, Jennifer A. Goddard, Michelle Good, Ruchika Gothoskar, Jonsaba Jabbi, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Micah Killjoy, Moe Kirkpatrick, Lydia Kwa, Margo LaPierre, karen lee, Lynn Hutchinson Lee, Y.S. Lee, Annick MacAskill, Kama La Mackerel, Sarah McPherson, Michie Mee, Zoë Mills, Lue Palmer, Emily Riddle, Alana Rigby, Omi Rodney, Edythe Rodriguez, Victoria Spence Naik, Unimke Ugbong, Nadia Van, semillites hernandez velasco, Dr. Njoki Wane, Yilin Wang, Jenny Heijun Wills, Lacey Yong, Dr. Rachel Zellars, Zhang Qiaohui

Currently on Newsstands

ROOM 45.1, Ancestors
Edited by Serena Lukas Bhandar

In This Issue: Yasmine Ameli, Manahil Bandukwala, Elena Bentley, Meagan Berlin, Serena Lukas Bhandar, Emily Chan, Kathy Crabbe, Asheda Dwyer, francesca ekwuyasi, Mercedes Eng, Lucy Zi Wei Fang, Juliette Blake Jacob, Jessica Jane Khuu, Melissa Kuipers, Holly Lam, Arshiya Malik, Samantha Martin-Bird, Victoria Mbabazi, Nicole Nanayaa M’Carthy, Erin McGregor, Kristin Michelle, Zamina Mithani, Haley Montgomery, Mridula Morgan, Tiffany Morris, Madalyn Murray, Sofia Navarro, Faith Paré, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Maryam Rafiee, Deepa Rajagopalan, Remy Ramirez, Romila, Trish Salah, Jane Shi, jessica ainsli todd, Sara Truuvert, Maneesa Veeravel, Anne Walk, Syrus Marcus Ware, Adrienne Weiss, Evelyn C. White

Join us on Patreon

Become a RoomMate!

Announcing Room’s New Membership Program
Seeking: RoomMates who love literature, events, merchandise, and supporting marginalized creators!

 

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to know about contests, calls for submissions, upcoming events.

* indicates required

Visit our Store

Share This