It began before that day with making fun of my name.
It began at the bus stop before the bus
and then crawled into the bus with them
when they would take turns,
turn and grab quick.
It began because they liked to get a grab.
It began when I was good at being quiet
because being quiet was what I was good at
and being anything less would draw attention.
It began because I didn’t want to draw attention.
It began that day but not with my name,
at the bus stop before the bus.
It began with grabbing the snow,
it began because I became part of everyone
and not the part being grabbed.
It began because my name is less interesting than snow.
It began with the throwing of snow
and I had the miserable luck to
have good aim that day.
It began because of my miserably good aim
and the snowball that hit his ear.
It began with his ear being red,
so maybe it began with blood
but I don’t think he was bleeding that day.
It began with his ear being red because it was cold
and had just been hit with a ball of snow.
It began because he yelled ‘bitch’,
because his shot brought the other boys running.
It began when everyone was playing
and because I was smiling
but not because I hit him.
It began because I was eleven and a part of everyone.
It began with them running,
because I was a smiling bitch.
It began with them at my four corners
batting at my arms and stomach
and with my coat being open.
It began because I never closed my coat.
It began with my coat open even though it was snowing.
It began with them batting at my arms and stomach
and then reaching into my coat, grabbing at my breasts.
It began with them grabbing my ass
with them reaching between my legs
and finding the spot near my crotch where
my thighs had worn the fabric thin.
It began because I wore second hand slacks.
It began with them tearing.
It began with them reaching between my legs,
It began because they found it funny
that they could rip my pants.
It began with the girls watching the ground.
It began when I screamed for them to stop.
It began because the ground was
more interesting than what was happening.
It began with the girls watching the ground,
with me running, with no one coming
after me, with no girls following to see if I was okay.
It began with nobody home at the nearest house
or at the next or the next.
It began because no one was at home.
It began when I took off my clothes at home
when I knew I knew better than to smile.
It began when I looked at the tear,
when I wanted to throw the pants out
but took out my mother’s sewing kit
and stitched what was ripped.
It began when I learned to sew.
Liesel Tarquini, born in 1977 in the USA, studied Creative Writing at The New School University in Manhattan. Has lived in Berlin since 2007 where she works as a freelance translator and editor and has cultivated a fine collection of rain-wear.