Heels clicking on hard concrete
swishing of skirt and fabric
dinging of a cell phone
creates illusion of company.
Passersby vary though there are few
every male face, male physique
increases my heart rate
makes my muscles taut like a bow.
I stay in sight of other people
avoid empty alleys and streets
avoid making eye contact
eye contact attracts men like bees to honey.
Men hardly have to worry
worst they might get are broken bones
their muscles were made to fight
it was passed down from our hunter ancestors.
Women draw more than muggers and gangsters
there is a worse weapon than a heavy gun
a weapon sharp and long like a knife
draws just as much blood but sinks deeper into body.
Kidnapping is not the same for me
neither is owing somebody something
both might demand more than money
might take it by force, without a thought.
This fear is what chains women
gives us shorter curfews than boys
discourages us from traveling the world
makes dating and passion more dangerous.
Boys are not as chained
they might be mugged but
what are their chances of the worst?
slim to none, though not impossible.
It’s unfathomable for us to walk alone
especially in the cold, lonely night
nobody asks a man if they can walk him
to their car or back to their house.
We shouldn’t judge books by their covers
but we tense up around muscular men
even if they are men that we know
because, what if?
Laws and movements have done so much
but rape and assault are not extinct
men defy the laws or bend them to their will
victims can possibly still be stoned.
I admit I sometimes resent men
even my own beloved brother
he never gets asked the same questions
given the same warnings, or at least as much.
I resent my brother and father
for fussing over me and other women
I resent them for another reason:
they have every reason to fear.
But annoyance comes like a rock
lodging in me and rolling around
I am the one who has to worry about these things,
they mock me by saying they understand.
Please don’t be a hypocrite
don’t be a woman who says she fears nothing
don’t be a man who says he understands
don’t pretend women still aren’t hunted.