Elisa Everts

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The Drive-In

Crouching on the floor of the backseat of the car, we have
to be quiet while Daddy pays the girl at the entrance to the
Drive-in. Kids are not allowed. The movie showing tonight is XXX.

We are excited because we get to eat corn chips and bean dip,
and drink pop and because sometimes we get to play on the monkey bars
at the base of the screen, at intermission. Between porn flicks.
A prize for our participation. Like a bribe for molestation.
We are conditioned to enjoy this ritual family outing.

Eric and I love to pinch our noses and imitate the voice
on the loudspeaker saying The snack bar will close in five minutes.
The snack bar will close in five minutes.
For some reason we get
such a kick out of that.

We see almost every kind of sex on the big screen, including, sometimes, rape.
My younger siblings often fall asleep in the back seat.
I am usually in the front seat with my parents. My ‘saintly’ Pentecostal mother aids
and abets this travesty of parenthood, complicit by her presence, by her

My father is mentally ill, but officially my mother is not . . . Is she? 

We are not unused to pornography. Our home is covered with it.
Drenched, saturated, up to our ears. But most especially our eyes.
Mom is blind, so she doesn’t know. . . Fair point.
Dad is mentally ill. So there’s that.
And apparently no one else knows, or I think social services would
have gotten involved.

The drive-in is a venue in which one may watch pornography on a large
screen while having the privacy to do whatever one wants in one’s own car.

I am a casualty of this liberty. One night, seated between my blind mother
and my pervy dad, he will molest me.

I don’t tell my mother until I am an adult.

The Set Up

Birth control pill??
At age eleven??
(I hadn't even started
my period.)
Truth dawns as my
mother processes
my father’s desire.
It takes her a minute to get there.
Files for divorce the next day.

And Still I Loved Him

I was Daddy’s favorite.
I was the apple of his eye.
But what he wanted me to be
was the cherry in his pie.
And still I loved him.
His hands smelled like sex
and cigarettes.
He touched me
with those filthy hands.
And still I loved him.
I suppose I didn’t know
that there were fathers
whose hands did not
smell like sex and
cigarettes. Or who
did not touch their
children when they did.
Mother was cold,
and prude, and she
never kissed me.
Father was affectionate,
but pervy, and
as I grew up I avoided
his kisses, which grew
ever more lecherous
and treacherous.
And still I loved him.
When I was 19, he
acknowledged what he
had done when I was 11.
Called it a
“moment of weakness.”
Oh, how it cost me
to lose that one small shred
of mercy, that little childish
delusion I had harbored
all those years, which he
might easily have preserved
with a little pretense,
that he had simply
been out of his mind and
wouldn’t even remember it.
But he remembered.
Without horror,
he remembered.
And still I loved him.


Elisa Everts, holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics and was a former English major (well, is an English major; it is a condition one never outgrows). She has poems and creative nonfiction forthcoming in  in Lavender Review, Mused, Anti-Heroin Chic, and HerStry. Elisa writes and teaches near Washington, DC.