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Hiding in Wonderland - A Sestina Poem

Updated on January 3, 2015
Source

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

or cover


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.

Public domain via Creative Commons
Public domain via Creative Commons | Source

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

Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker, she is a Word of Faith minister who spearheaded Joyce Meyer Ministries; best-known for her inspiring sermons & books like Battlefield of the Mind
Joyce Meyer, Christian author and speaker, she is a Word of Faith minister who spearheaded Joyce Meyer Ministries; best-known for her inspiring sermons & books like Battlefield of the Mind | Source
Ozzy Osbourne, rockstar and reality TV personality, he's better known as the Godfather of Heavy Metal
Ozzy Osbourne, rockstar and reality TV personality, he's better known as the Godfather of Heavy Metal | Source
Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and life coach, best-known for the Oprah Winfrey talk show, and now the OWN network
Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and life coach, best-known for the Oprah Winfrey talk show, and now the OWN network | Source
R.A. Dickey, MLB pitcher for Toronto Blue Jays, best-known for his famous knuckleball
R.A. Dickey, MLB pitcher for Toronto Blue Jays, best-known for his famous knuckleball | Source
Tyler Perry, actor/producer/direction best-known for Madea character who he portrays; movies include Good Deeds, Why Did I Get Married?, Temptation, & I Can Do Bad All By Myself
Tyler Perry, actor/producer/direction best-known for Madea character who he portrays; movies include Good Deeds, Why Did I Get Married?, Temptation, & I Can Do Bad All By Myself | Source
Mackenzie Phillips, actress best-known for role as Bonnie's teenage daughter in One Day at a Time & movie American Graffiti
Mackenzie Phillips, actress best-known for role as Bonnie's teenage daughter in One Day at a Time & movie American Graffiti | Source

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

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