Three Prose Poems by Alex DiFrancesco

Content warning: sexual assault, police interaction, violence

The Night My Rapist Dies in a Dream

In my dream, the detective is an old man from the bar I drink at in the early afternoon. The detective says, “It was only a matter of time before he blew his head off.” I drive by the house, and I see the shattered window, stained red around the jagged, the burst of brains on the sidewalk below. There is a boy, inside, his brother, his face a gift of shock.

I think in my dream, it is over. I did this. I will never listen to that album we both loved again even though I loved it first.

The brother begins to clean the blood up.

I think in my dream, he’s dead our mouths were pressed together I have held his body momentarily I don’t know what color his eyes are when the detective asks I say his beard is stupid I never traced his spine we mostly slept drunkenly in our clothes.

The blood is the color of the tulip that exploded from the ground this spring and fell under the late-season snows and sprang back up again without argument from anyone.

I move through a senseless night. In the distortionless day the victim advocate sat silently beside me. In the day I cried in the hallway before the detective appeared. In the day I said I don’t trust the system and the advocate touched her brown skin and said she didn’t either. In the day I said I fucked him for a year afterwards and watched the detective’s eyes dart away from me. In the day there are ten steps to reporting this kind of crime and I am so afraid.

Next to the blood on the sidewalk it is dawn. The brother has cleaned the room. He sits on the floor of the glistening world. 


The Day My Father Speaks to My Sister’s Abusive Husband

In a picture, on her birthday, my sister’s face is blotched with tears and strikes when she blows out the candles. This is not that day.

On this day I am in their house and they begin to fight and my sister is on the floor and I picture his boot tracks down her body like in a cartoon I still watch cartoons and my father shows up to talk to him man to man.

I don’t know what my father can say, what her husband already knows.

They talk calmly like the cop who talks to my neighbor when I call them because my neighbor is about to beat his wife to death. Man to man.

I am thirteen. I am thirty-nine. I am five when my father knocks my mother down the stairs.


The Day I Read An Article About a Serial Rapist

She says he held her down she says there was little drinking involved she says she told her best friend it was rape the next day she says she agreed to keep it quiet and believed it was an accident and kept in touch with him. She was twelve the first time they met. He wrote ego-boosting notes on her middle school English papers. 

My rapist teaches, too.

She holds onto these notes like I listen to the song that my rapist said reminded me of him over and over. She: that she can make it as a writer. Genius is always lonely. Me: T. Rex, glam rock, my projected image that I do not believe. Prince of players, pawn of none, born with steel reigns on the heart of the sun.

Our banes know our weaknesses.

The group of women who talked about it later broke their story to the New York Times because his coverage was relentless. My rapist is an adjunct who lives with his mother. It is still relentless.

My rapist contacts young women at four in the morning saying I can prove my innocence I have screenshots what a smear campaign.

There was never anything for any of us to gain.


ph. Christina Ramirez

Alex DiFrancesco is the author of Psychopomps, All City, and Transmutation

The Night My Rapist Dies in a Dream was originally published in Monologging.