The following is a guest post by Meggie Royer, whose poetry appeared in Issue 16 of Typehouse.
A month into our relationship, or perhaps less than that (trauma plays a kind of devastating cat’s cradle with memory), my abuser bought my book. He may have bought my second book, too, but I also do not remember this. What I do remember is sitting on a couch in his small dorm room, lamplight echoing across his face, our legs pressed together with the kind of timid intimacy that only falling in love for the first time can produce.
was talking about my book, my writing. The impact it had, my talent,
how he was left breathless by my way with words. He shared that he
wanted to “support my work.”
wasn’t aware he knew I had “work” at all, much less a book, or
that he knew I had a writing blog, and where to find it. I wasn’t
even aware his roommate knew I was a writer, until I was told they
read my blog too.
pure and unbridled irony of our relationship is that at the end, I
wrote the one book he could not read.
wrote a book about how he raped me, about how intimate partner sexual
violence leaves untold wreckage in its wake, how in Turkmenistan
there is a crater of natural gas that never stops burning, how in my
worst moments I imagined lifting its edges like a blanket and
has not read that book. What he continues to read, however, is my
blog, the place that launched my writing career into a hundred
thousand devoted followers, the place where I posted, in June of
2014, how I could never trust him again. That five year old post
remains in my archive, suspended like an insect in amber, something I
can’t bear to save but can’t stand to delete.
know his watch continues, because he tells me so, or sometimes an ex
or friend of his tells me too. Every few months the messages come in,
the snarling anonymous accusations that I lied, that I was the
abuser, that I was and always will be worth nothing. They arrive in
the inbox of my writing blog, the place I always held sacred until it
became both a bane and a blessing.
haunting, in a way, like having a ghost perched on my shoulder like a
parrot. I still write poems about him and his wreckage, hoping while
also fearing that he might read them. I no longer post personal
details of my loved ones or my job, knowing that anything can, and
might, be used against me.
would be easier to delete my blog, disappear the archives, Eternal
Sunshine it from the Internet. But this is what the guilty do. They
erase their evidence, cloak their mistakes. Neither of us may give
up, and for what it’s worth, I will not be the one to give up
Meggie Royer is a Midwestern writer, domestic violence advocate, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Persephone’s Daughters, a literary and arts journal for abuse survivors. She has won numerous awards for her work and has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She thinks there is nothing better in this world than a finished poem.