By Britta Englund
Britta Englund's stories


I can still see me

back when I was a little girl
me looking at me

like I’ve always known I was there
but without audio

my mother in the bathroom
she was screaming too
I hated her cry
she was always fucking crying

the light from the radio cast a dull glow
he was there
I dared him to hit me

I just wanted to feel something—anything

my hair was gone
cut to my ears and wet

I stood there naked
staring through me
holding myself open
exposing my shame

at times I wished I was an addict
at least then I’d know what to call me

such a pretty combination of ugly features
constantly in battle

my own presence a demanding reminder to
smile bright young lady
apply your war paint
it’ll make your eyes pop

you play innocent so well
you must have everyone fooled

it had been hours and I still felt his body—overweight and perspiring. Patches of coarse curls grew on his cheeks and chest. His wifebeater was dingy and worn. We didn’t kiss that night, but the blotches of hickies protruding through my drugstore foundation may have suggested otherwise. Chapped lips curled around his gold teeth expressing arousal disgusted me into numbness. The smell of his breath I tried to ignore singed into my pores. I was back on the floor in an abandoned house with my Lover and a stranger. Tears ran with every match of his body to mine. My head nested in the lap of my Lover with my sacred places bare and exposed. My panties gone. My shirt and bra lifted to my neck. The empty room had a dull glow that allowed the reflection of his sweat to glisten as it dripped off his forehead landing between my undeveloped breasts. The stranger was on top of me. Grunting as he took pleasure at my expense. I laid there, limp. Losing a piece of my innocence with every pierce. All the while my Lover held my hand. Caressing my hair, assuring me I was enjoying it. Reminding me what a good girl I was.

A fair deal—my soul for his approval.

A generational curse.

I am my mother’s daughter.






30 October, 2023