To you, I was always “Bob’s bastard,”
A reminder that someone touched her before you.
My body remembers your grease-stained, gnarled fists
smashing my pink flesh to bone.
My body remembers your steel-toed shoes
ploughing into my belly and back.
Sometimes mom begged you to stop.
Sometimes she sobbed, immobile.
Sometimes she looked away.
Though you’ve been dead for years,
You live here now.
Imprisoned in the body of the girl you despised.
C. Christine Fair is a professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program within the School of Foreign Service. She studies political and military events of South Asia and travels extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East. Her books include In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (OUP 2019); Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (OUP, 2014); and Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States (Globe Pequot, 2008). Her forthcoming book is Lines of Control: Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s Militant Piety, with Saifina Ustad (Oxford University Press, 2021). She has published creative pieces in The Bark, The Dime Show Review, Furious Gazelle, Hyptertext, Lunch Ticket, Clementine Unbound, Awakenings, Fifty Word Stories, The Drabble, Sandy River Review, Sonder Midwest, Black Horse Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Bluntly Magazine,
Badlands Literary Journal, among others. Her visual poetry has appeared in pulpMAG, The Indianapolis Review, Typehouse Literary Magazine, The New Southern Fugitives, Glassworks and Existere Journal of Arts. She causes trouble in multiple languages.