Published on Academy of American Poets (

Ekphrasis on My Rapist's Wedding Dress

still as a scar through the screen's glow : perhaps this is the origin
of my obsession with the color white : searching to name this shade
color like bitten bed sheets : color like a failed dove : or split lip 

when red has ceased howling its way to the surface : perhaps the color
of fog over the river bed that morning : or the color of concrete
that bleach & blood leave behind : it hangs around her like the word

faggot in the air of the locked bedroom : like drying hemorrhage suspended
between skin & cotton : sideways on the bathroom floor : it hangs around
her like a name : that once belonged only to me : & i think maybe

most of all i am jealous : for any metaphor i can put to it : the dress
is still beautiful : pale & soft & pure : & isn't this just like my poems?
dressing a violence in something pretty & telling it to dance?


Originally published in BOAAT. Copyright © 2018 by torrin a. greathouse. Used with the permission of the author.


torrin a. greathouse

torrin a. greathouse is the author of two chapbooks, There Is a Case that I Am (Damaged Goods, 2017) and boy/girl/ghost (TAR Chapbook Series, 2018), as well as the collection Wound from the Mouth of a Wound (Milkweed Editions, 2020) winner of the Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry. The recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, she is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota and lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Date Published: 2018-03-19

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