Summit
Creek Lane

This is how it
happens.

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Step one. Ignore
the statistics

Just look at
your hemline

You will never
be that one in five

Step two.  Trust everyone, and do not listen to your instincts

when they tells
you to be careful.

Step three.
trust in yourself

You have always
been smarter than this.

Only dumb girls
get themselves there

Keep being smart.

Step four. When
he flirts with you and

tell how many
girls he has been with

smile.

be polite.

Step five.
Pretend not to notice when he looks at you

stretching in
your track shorts. You’re the one who picked out these clothes.

Step six. Remember—this
is typical, this is normal.

This is okay.

Step seven.
Remind yourself that you know him

he is a player
but not a predator.

He gets good
grades and pays when you go out.

Predators don’t
pay for pie shakes.  

Step eight.
Don’t question anything.  You’re having
fun.

Step nine. Know
that you’ve been here before, past the piano

where he plays
Beethoven and Mozart for you, behind the 70-inch flat screen.

Step ten. Say
thank you when he says you’re attractive. Say sorry for being in the way when
he grazes you breast. Tell him he’s funny when he talks about much fun your
boyfriend must have with you.

Step eleven.
Don’t use the word rape. Do not use the word rape.

Step twelve. Remind
yourself that you didn’t say no, right?

Step thirteen.
Write. Write until you remember the reasons,

or invent them
if forgotten.

Step fourteen.
Try to forget everything. Forget the letters to your name, forget

the half-open
case of Assassin’s Creed on the shelf,

the arm of the
speedometer stretched out for help,

the feeling of
his hand on your neck and

his residence
inside you.

Step fifteen. Forget
about what happened last time you turned left on Summit Creek Lane. Tell
yourself it didn’t happen for 481 days

So that when he
asks you to hang out again,

you won’t be
afraid.

Step sixteen.
When he asks you to come upstairs

make sure you
have a good enough reason to decline.

Step seventeen.
Say no this time,

even when you’re
pressed up against the wall

even when left
cheek abrades his Egyptian linen.

Step eighteen. Remember
monsters only exist in fairy tales.

Step nineteen.
Picture him as a child. Maybe that will make him human again.

Step twenty.
Remember there is never a good enough reason. He will get what he wants from
you,

Even if he must
take it.

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