No and no and a thousand times, no.
I’ll say it now, filled with the newing courage
of age I did not carry with me then.
I’ll say it with a tongue to lash a hundred yous,
no, a million like you. For those who cannot now,
and could not then, I’ll say it now and ever-after.
No and no and no and no.

You set the knife, the noose, the drug, the gun
inside my unwilling hands. With your touch, your tongue,
your menacing shush. You handed me your baggage,
your guilt to carry, to hold, to swallow…to keep inside.

And me, but a boy, I took it. Willingly.
I toted it with me these thirty years.
I let it kill me again and again,
because I knew I could not be killed, not really.

I knew you had already done the job succinctly,
murdered me with your filthy touch,
your unspeakable lust. You took my life.
Ended the me I could have, should have been.
That boy? He’s gone forever.

The longing inside, the burn, the not-ever-knowing
who I might have been…it twists inside my splintered mind,
like a knife let loose. An ache, a loss, a question never answered.

Today, no longer a boy with an old man hot of breath
and mad with evil to force me down…
today, I say only one word.
I say it knowing I am lost forever
and I can no longer say it for myself.

But I say it anyway,
for boys, for girls,
for women and for men
who may not have the strength
to say such a simple, potent word.
No and no and no and no.