A lyrical guide to healing one’s sexually inflicted wounds

Ilustration by Alicia Tatone

If a story needs an arc, a pleasing symmetry, then consider the rainbow, to be literal about queer symbols for a moment. A rainbow is irresolute, it has no beginning, no end. Patti LaBelle understood this. In one of her live renditions of “Over the Rainbow,” she ended by singing:

If a teeny weeny bird can fly,
Oh tell me why,
tell me why,
whyyy-y-y-y,
whyyyyyyyy,
whyyyyyyyyyyyyy caaaaaaaaan’t

“The skin is all cut up,” says the first of many doctors, her rubber-gloved finger prodding at my anus. A knife-sharp pain shudders through me with each of her clumsy jabs, and…

Rennie McDougall

Writer in Brooklyn. Words in the Brooklyn Rail, Village Voice, Bookforum, Lapham’s Quarterly, Hyperalleric, The Monthly, The Lifted Brow www.renniemcdougall.com

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