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They didn’t strip you nude

A poem

Published on:
November 19, 2018
Read time:
1 min.
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They didn’t strip you nude
to sculpt you, to freeze your flesh
in marbled glory
and stand you in a court. 

They didn’t strip you nude
to paint you, to brush your skin
with pigments
for walls rich enough
to hold them. 

They didn’t strip you nude
to laud you, to gaze upon 
a chiseled form of 
archetypal man (as they did
with other gods 
and men). 

They didn’t strip you nude at all. 

They stripped you naked.
Naked like the bruised woman
in her husband’s bed, choking 
to quiet her crying.
Naked like the Jew 
in the camp, unwiped ass displayed
for passersby to kick.
Naked like the eight-year-old boy
posing cruciform 
for the demoniacal pleasure of priests. 

Naked they stripped you. 

To shame you
beyond the semblance
of a man. 

      O my God, my God.

Deanna Briody
Deanna is a native New Yorker who's found a home in the Rust Belt of western PA, where she works with international students at Trinity School for Ministry. She writes poetry and essays and performs spoken word.

Cover photo by Thuong Do.

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