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Hiding in Wonderland - A Sestina Poem
Hiding in Wonderland
If I could run away
and hide myself beneath the curve
of an ocean wave, or tuck myself inside the tunnel
of a tornado, or maybe if I could burrow
down into a hedgehog’s hole—
perhaps I could find my safe place.
Because that safe place
is no longer here. Somewhere, in Far Away
Land—where dreams borrow
princesses and drop Alices into tunnels,
where cats and rabbits can talk, where little girl’s curves
are no more noticeable than the hole
in a little girl’s stockings—I wish I could fall in that hole
with Alice. Perhaps I could find my safe place.
Because in Wonderland, the bad men are far far away,
and in Wonderland, they do not ask to borrow
your lips. They do not pierce through your tunnel
your mouth with their salty hands, or cover
your breasts with their sour breath. I hold
my breath and pretend that I am in another place,
in Never Never Land, or Far Far Away
where I can burrow
down in Alice’s tunnel
in hopes that somewhere inside that tunnel
there is safety for me. My curves
would go unnoticed. My uncle would go away
and build me a palace
from sand like he used to before they lowered Mama in the hole,
before they borrowed
a satin covered box, and let Mama burrow
down through the ground to the hedgehog’s tunnel.
Mama, let me go with you. Let me carve
out the ground, and free-fall into the hole.
Perhaps I will find my safe place
before my spirit seeps away.
One day in Far Away, a prince will borrow
this princess, take me to Wonderland, and carve a tunnel
for me to hide in while he holds me. And I will be safe, in that place.
Wonderland - A Metaphor for a Safe Place
We teach our children, “stranger, danger.” But the truth of the matter is that it’s the ones closest to us who often hurt us the most. The statistics on sexual assault are daunting. Sexual assault does not discriminate: 1 out of every 5 women are sexually assaulted, and 1 out of every 10 males are sexually assaulted before they turn 13. Sexual assault happens in the home, the workplace, and even in the military. Usually, when a person is violated in this most intimate way, it's by a person who he or she does know in some capacity.
Sexual Assault in the Military
Data Gathered from National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010
- In the U.S., roughly 22 million women are raped at some point during their life
- 1 out of every 5 women will be raped or sexually assaulted
- only 1 out of every 4 rape/sexual assault cases are perpetrated by a stranger
- nearly 50% of female rapes happen at the hands of a family member or intimate partner
- 90% of children rape victims know their attacker
- military is 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted/raped by fellow soldier than killed in war/combat (Policy Mic)
- military sexual assault has risen by 43% from 2012 to 2013 (Policy Mic)
Familiar Faces of Rape/Sexual Assault
A Tribute to You
In closing, this sestina poem is a tribute of sympathy and empathy to every individual out there, female or male, adult or child, who has ever been violated in the most intimate way. Here’s hoping that you have found or will eventually find serenity and safety in your Wonderland.
© 2014 Jessica Barrow