Katie Gleason: Rape, Endometriosis & The Miscarriage

Katie Gleason: Rape, Endometriosis & The Miscarriage



There’s this thing

at the back of my spine

A crooked stone


You are there

With your muscled arms

and black hair


We went on a date

in your bedroom


Even though I swore

not to

I’d slept with more men

Than I could fit in my palm


But I just couldn’t

resist you

Jewel of the kitchen

Shiny and tall


The other waitresses

even voted you

Most Fuckable


But here’s

the stone

Crooked and dark


Your hand

beneath my bra


After I said no

Three times


I didn’t know how

to get up

And walk away


Your ceiling fan

wobbled overhead

Your brown sheets reeked

of sour socks


And after that

I dated you


Here’s the other part


Years later

I raped a man

in the back of my car


He said no

but he was hard

And I shoved his dick

deep inside me

After he lied

and broke my heart


Your stone

Raven haired

crooked and chiseled

Was inside me too


It kept

coming and moaning

in the back of my car


Jagged rock

My only weapon

splintering out




It’s normal.

Easy as blood.


It’s normal. Normal to pull

out a tampon every hour uterus

spasming with barbed needles crimson

clots the size of lumpy grapes slick and

stain the bathroom floor.


Girls are so histrionic.


It’s normal. Normal to sit in history

class drenched in sweat veins

ice tunnel focus on one

spot on the wall a faded

United States map because

cramps are



PMS isn’t an excuse.

And neither is a period.


And sometimes it’s normal for

an honors goody two shoes

student to drive home in the

middle of the school day without

asking permission barely make it

home fall on the bed closest

to the garage door ripped car

seat red and slimy body

slack Mother worried and



The doctor says it’s normal.

Listen to him.

He’s an expert.


It’s not normal

to be a runner. But some

runners throw up at

mile six or eight when on their

period stomach a distended

balloon vagina seizes and

sword vomit waves in

bloated tides.


Push through it.

Bring an extra pad.


Pop ten ibuprofen at

a time six times a



Don’t be dramatic.


It’s normal to plan vacations around

cycles always bring mega backup of pain

pills and tampons use a heating

pad ten hours a day fever weight

gain constipation sex hurts

all the time. Shut


up and stop exaggerating.

It’s normal.


Rest assured,

the organs in the belly are plump and pink.

Everything is normal.


There aren’t any grey

monsters mushrooming across

tissue black fingered disease lake

of blood pooling ghosts beneath



It’s certain

the ovaries are firm and white.

Be reasonable.

Don’t whine.


Everything is fine.


The Miscarriage


You are there

In silence

In the vastness of water

In the ocean’s blue hem

            swallowing sand

As I chase down a shell

            the wind chuckling behind me

            before tide takes it back with her hand


In the white feathers of my pillow

            next to my tired ear

            telling stories

In my prayer flags

            burning in the wind

            casting off their tears

You are there


I remember your body

            coming out of mine

You left me with no ceremony

            in a hospital bathroom

            me with paper underwear

            numb on Vicodin

The bag of your life I set on the sink


You are not there,

            in the place where the nurse ripped my skin

            removing my IV

Where your father spooned me on a metal bed

            while we waited

            for the ultrasound

            to show me empty


You are in

            my not forgetting

In the hibiscus flowers of my garden

            vibrantly orange

In the wart that grew on my finger

            after you died

            and I tried to scrape it off with my thumb



Isn’t it amazing what our bodies can do says

the woman across from me, her belly a giant

floating nest. I eat my sandwich quietly. At work


there are half-grown souls everywhere I

look. Hidden aliens gorging themselves inside

mother wombs, suspended in fluid and blood. I


drift around for months, jealous of

desert oleanders and cacti flaunting their

proud blooms. Sometimes I go home


for lunch because my body misses

her ovaries. Her tears soak my pencil skirt,

my underwear, my expensive lace


bra. Even my hair is soggy at the roots. Co-workers

wonder why I wear different outfits in the

afternoons. I tell them I just like variety. I wonder if

they know the truth.

Katie Gleason's poetry has appeared in Rust + Moth, Foliate Oak, Eunoia Review and O-Dark-Thirty, among others. Katie is a workshop teacher for The Writers Studio Tucson and a student in their Master Class. She lives in Arizona and is a social worker and counselor when she's not writing.