B Y   E M I L Y   B O B O

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

R A P E   F U G U E

Emily Bobo is the author of Fugue, short book available through Lost Horse Press in New Poets, Short Books Vol. III (2009). She has also published work in literary magazines, such as december, Seneca Review, and Redivider. She is a Professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington, where she teaches writing to single moms, ex-cons, war vets, and other non-traditional students. 

​​In fugue states, we marry, 
change our story 
by changing our names.

My grandfather raped my aunt./
My great grandfather raped my great aunt./
Kevin Parker allegedly raped/and murdered/15-month-old, baby//Shaylyn Ammerman.//

In huge stakes, 
we release the hate 
we thought we'd buried.

In fugue states, we 
marry, change 
our names, change our story.

Every man I meet is a man I have loved.
Every man I meet is the man who raped a woman I did not love.
Every man I meet is a man, and I cannot love any more men.

In black states, we carry 
the flame and hoist 
the blame.

The uncle says he saw Parker leave with baby Shaylyn.
My father says he watched his father 
rape his sister, Kate.

In a fugue state/Kate changed 
her story by faking a baby and/ 
forcing a man to marry and take her in. 

While my grandfather raped his daughter, Kate, 
my grandmother boiled 
a cabbage nobody ate.

In fugue states, we change our story 
by changing the names,/ 
playing mix and match with blame.

At six, I was molested 
by a cousin./Mother said 
it was my fault./ 

Every man I meet has already taken something from me.
Every woman I meet is someone who has not yet loved me.
Everyone I meet is someone who needs me to love them.

Every man I meet is the one who raped 
Shaylyn/Kate/my Great 
Aunt who does not get a name./

Every woman who changes her name/
in a fugue state/
suffocates on shame.

Shaylyn’s body was found inside a hand-
made shelter. Shaylyn’s body was found where 
two rivers meet. Shaylyn’s body sets me on fire.

My aunt was the second of three baby Kates,/ 
the first to live./By the time I write this poem,/ 
two Kates have already died.

In a fugue state, Shaylyn’s Grandmother buries
her, changes her story, by changing the name 
engraved on her stone.

My father did not rape me./
He expects gratitude. In a fugue state, 
I married, tried to change my story by changing my name. 

My name is One Who Cries./
I write this poem/
Like writing my name./

I tell the story of Shaylyn/Kate/Great
Aunt No-Name./
I light the flame./

I cry, blame/blame/blame!
Say it with me, now.
Cry, love/love/love!