The Cost

Words by Chelsea, 23 VIC

He slapped my arse

With a cardboard box

He thought it was a joke,

Of course.

Brown cardboard,

White skin,

My privilege didn’t stop him.


Walking across an invisible line                                                           

Time stood still.


You’re fine. 

For the shock of an action

Made in a place;

No vibration to leave my lips

Only the quiver

Of a gut feeling

White washed my entity.


Upright but quivering,


Avoiding contact, 

Head low;

All in front of his son

Who worked there also. 

He didn’t share the usual reaction

But was embarrassed, 

By his dads action.

He could see, in my eyes

How I felt at that moment in time.

This happened to me

As an employee 

After the happening The realisation stings

I shoved it under a rug

With my other shameful things.

Only did I realise

What this actually was

After the Me Too movement

Did I see it for its cost.

It cost me confidence

It cost me pain

It cost me thinking

It was my fault

And I’m to blame.

It cost me trust

It caused me shame

It ate me whole

Until I cried again.

I release it in words

To claim, to own

What happened to me

So others know 

They’re not so alone.

Illustration by AileenYou can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenetc

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