This poem was written in the week the #metoo hashtag went viral, and a number of women across social media were simply saying the words “me too” on their statuses, while others chose to disclose or share analyses of their experiences of violence.

How many of us received a call this week,

heard the high pitch in her voice,

put down the thing in your hand –

dish soap, book, ladle –

headed to another room

and closed the door behind?

Who listened, and loved,

and cried when you hung up?

Who chatted about

TV.

and work.

and babies;

the news -

and then there’s that turn

you’re in that conversation again -

your story, and hers,

and she says “fuck that guy”

and you say “what a creep,”

and you found the word “resonate” to not quite capture

the feeling of loud, body-rumbling reverberation?

Who made a timeline, a catalogue,

for yourself or for the world,

and after the fifteenth “then there was the time,”

all stacked up like vertebrae

saw that

violence made the shape of you?

How many saw the words “me too”

written by someone you’ve known forever,

and realized, heartbroken already, that you might not know all her stories?

How many saw “not me” and didn’t believe it -

for you it has been every day,

or perhaps the fear of every day lived in patriarchy?

How many made lists of the men in your life

that you think are the good guys,

and worried you might be wrong?

Was your list too short, and did you ask yourself if toddlers count?

How many hovered your fingers over the keys,

And instead whispered, “Me too”

And still felt that, for now, was something?

Too many. Too many. Too many.

Audrey is an educator, counsellor, and curriculum developer running her own business in Toronto. She writes about social services, mostly. audreybatterham.com.

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