The soft girl in my bed The soft girl in my bed is all dual tone lipstick and good intentions. She whispers, “So what do you like?” into my skin, and I feel my voice shrink into a tiny pearl until it falls to the ocean floor of my throat. And this soft girl did nothing… wrong. But I am still drowned in embarrassment. My stiff voice clamps shut and hovers above the bed like a shadow and my tongue tangles into a tight cherry stem knot; I do not feel entitled to ask for what I want. I don’t even know what I want. Me, the b*tch who never shuts up, suddenly has nothing to say. Me, the b*tch who never shuts up, suddenly has nothing to say. I still struggle to speak up during sex. I cannot help but wonder, is this yet another thing trauma has taken from me? Did my rapist take my voice as a souvenir to reminisce over their fond memories of invading my body? When the soft girl in my bed says she likes to be choked, I instantly feel every light in my body go out and suddenly, I could time travel. I am slingshotted back to the memory of a man with fishhooks for fingernails and barbed wire for hands, how they coiled around my neck like a python, how the lump in my throat clotted like blood, how I waited so patiently for it to be over. How I closed my eyes, how I cried, how I shrieked, how he heard me, how he was hurting me, how he was hard this entire time.