The Year ‘Caught Out There’ Became My Theme Song

by Brittany Rogers

This song is for all the women out there that been lied to by their men and I know you all been lied to over and over again. This is for y’all; yo, maybe you didn’t break the way you shoulda broke, yo but I break

– Kelis

Strep throat caught me for the second time
in two winters. The Doctor said my immune system was weak

because of the baby but I knew
it was that college in Ypsilanti that did it.

I got my first ‘C’ in Linguistics 
cause the blonde professor with a dog whistle voice

told me “a policy is a policy” when I missed the quiz:
stomach protruding past my feet

doctor’s note and antibiotic bottle in hand.
I did not hit her or throw the desk I should have been

sitting in; Someone told me once that babies feel everything
you do. I stopped crying when he stopped coming

home. When the landlords didn’t renew the lease. When he suggested 
adoption it hung in the air like a kite, the string just out

of reach. My body flinched one day, as if it knew what was coming.
Then the brand-new Mitsubishi Galant was two payments

behind, tube television, thrift store dishes and everything
else I owned stuffed in its four-door frame. When we applied

for the next apartment my husband made me file him
as head of household though I worked two jobs

while he snake-gripped my life full time. 
One morning, the repoman got me. Two months later

the door had an eviction letter plastered across it a wanted
poster, all my shame strewn like dirty laundry at the curb

I was still sick sleeping on his granny’s futon
with nothing to my name but debt and a nose

spread like unkempt vines. Then 
a month before she was born,

The nigga hit me.

I break.

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