Written By: Nikolas Alvelo

Image By: Gloria Yuen

Content warning:

The following text describes sexual assault and violence, and can be disturbing and/or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.

✶ ✶ ✶
all you left was a thread
tugged and torn
is it common to leave
someone so senseless
took away my sight
pinpointed irises
splashed with color
pupils dilated so slight
censored the bits
that you couldn’t shape
blurred the lines
that you didn’t like
reality once perceptive
left squinting through
gaslit night
took away my ears
melodies, voices, echoes
diluted into watered–down
suggestive murmurs that remain
your deafening
throes of misplaced
rage and blame
bought my silence
'i want to hold your hand’
audio left tainted
ink-splattered sheets
once composed for us
took away my touch
hunger insatiable, lustful thought
claimed my body, my skin
a primal leash pulled taut
the one source of solace
astray, naught
a dog must feel comfort
tied back by his usual chain

flesh and pleasure
words that seem
like they would rhyme
but were never meant to
took away my taste
the sweetness in the air
the soft pretzels
they sold by the pier
the pizza overpriced
for pizza that is
the grease
had to blot with a napkin
i watched a bitter end
sprout a sour start
to what would grow
towering pillars of salt
took away my smell
the scent of betrayal
hard to detect
amongst dirty laundry
the trash goes out
on tuesday
and it was saturday
there’d be too much now
but you held my
nostrils shut
and told me I was
in a rose garden
how could i see it your way
how would i listen better
how should i speak up
why should i feel like this
the thread you left me

is more than enough
to patch the holes
in my sense of self

✶ ✶ ✶

Campus Resources:

The HELP Line: 215-898-HELP: A 24–hour–a–day phone number for members of the Penn community who seek help in navigating Penn's resources for health and wellness.

Counseling and Psychological Services: 215-898-7021 (active 24/7): The counseling center for the University of Pennsylvania.

Student Health Service: 215-746-3535: Student Health Service can provide medical evaluations and treatment to victims/survivors of sexual and relationship violence regardless of whether they make a report or seek additional resources. Both male and female providers can perform examinations, discuss testing and treatment of sexually transmissible infections, provide emergency contraception if necessary and arrange for referrals and follow up.

Reach–A–Peer Hotline - 215-573-2727 (every day from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.): A peer hotline to provide peer support, information, and referrals to Penn students.

Penn Violence Prevention: 3539 Locust Walk (Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm), (215) 746-2642, Jessica Mertz (Director of Student Sexual Violence Prevention, Education), Read the Penn Violence Prevention resource guide.

Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention Team: A multidisciplinary team at CAPS dedicated to supporting students who have experienced sexual trauma.

Public Safety Special Services: Trained personnel offer crisis intervention, accompaniment to legal and medical proceedings, options counseling and advocacy, and linkages to other community resources.

Penn Women's Center: 3643 Locust Walk (Office Hours 9:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday–Thursday, 9:30 am – 5 pm Friday), PWC provides confidential crisis and options counseling.