Shannon Phillips: “Rape Fantasy”


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Shannon Phillips has had work published in Pearl, Verdad, Rectangle, and RipRap, where “Rape Fantasy” was first published. She currently edits carnival, an online literary magazine.


Rape Fantasy

They called it a rape, those European artisans.

They don’t know that he decorated with cobwebs and vertigo,
burlap shadows and suffering, tapestries beaded with broken ribcages,
hallways of parched throat.

They don’t know the descent into a cavern of ripe blood vessels
glinting like stained glass, burnt quartz,
pomegranate teeth.

They don’t know he made me
stay with a kiss, a
mouth of sour jewelry,
fruit kiss.

They don’t know the truth of their bone-white Queen;

They don’t know I let them
call it a rape

so that I remain my mother’s good daughter,
and my husband remains unaware
that it wasn’t the seeds.


About the author

Shannon Phillips

Shannon Phillips

Shannon Phillips has an MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. Her work has been published in Pearl, Verdad, Rectangle, and RipRap, where this poem first appeared. In 2010, she placed second in Beyond Baroque's First Ever Poetry Contest. Currently, she edits Carnival, an online literary magazine.

  • Andy G

    Really cool retelling of the Persephone story.

  • Melanie

    Such a powerful and insightful piece. Feeds both the senses and the intellect. Gorgeous.

  • J.dT.

    Love that line “they don’t know I let them

    Call it rape”

    Very cunning of this Persephone character. It’s a new voice for her, one that isn’t docile, and that makes sense- after all she was such a terrible queen that you wouldn’t even dare speak her name.

    Beautiful work.