She was still living in the rectory when “Rape Joke” was published in The Awl. There is a section of the poem about the speaker’s parents’ response to the rape:
It was a year before you told your parents, because he was like a son to them. The rape joke is that when you told your father, he made the sign of the cross over you and said, “I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… .”
Lockwood came downstairs one night after the poem was published to find her mother sitting in the dark in front of her computer, reading the poem and crying. …
Of her parents’ reaction to the rape, she later said: “People don’t necessarily respond as their best selves in the moment. The initial conversations were not totally ideal. But when you make art out of something, they get another chance.”
–Jesse Lichtenstein, in the New York Times Magazine, on poet Patricia Lockwood, whose new book is Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals.