first fear

when my voice doesn’t work and it catches and I laugh
it isn’t because I think it’s funny.

when strange men walk beside me
on the roadside,
on the out side
and they carefully steer to keep me against the wall
and then they say oh it’s because you’re a girl

(you’re small)
(you’re pretty)
(I’ll want you until you refuse and then I’ll insult you)
(I’ll get you)

you know how.

I feel controlled


to walk with them until they go away.
Their chivalry, as it may be,
(as they frame it to be)
it’s lost in the event of a car hitting them

they would not stop it

and then both would hit me.

You’ll never be able
to protect me.

I learned to try to stay in everyone’s good graces
without meaning to
and I learned through experience
I learned what not to do

so if you think I am laughing
on purpose

that is not true.



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