bedtime (scary) story:
“I’m fourteen years old and I’m wearing a skirt that’s too small for me.
when I kiss my parents goodbye
a family friend looks at me,
then at my parents
‘You’re letting her out like that?’
I almost snap at him but when I meet his gaze I don’t see judgement
I’m fifteen and my friend and I
don’t walk down big streets at night.
When men yell at us it makes our skin crawl.
I’m sixteen when a girl in my class
buys a keychain
that doubles as a knife
I tell my mother and she teaches me
how to wield my house keys
like a weapon
I’m seventeen years old and it’s almost two a.m.
I want to walk home
but my friends block the door.
They’re scared if they let me go
it’ll be for the last time.
Now I get it.
I see why my mother can’t sleep when I’m out,
I understand why my male friends slide their arms around me
when it gets dark.
When my grandmother eyes my hemline
like it’s poisonous,
I get it.
My parents do everything they can to keep me safe
but they can’t change the fact that my body
is a war zone,
they can’t help that there’s too much hunger
in this world for safety,
they can’t close their ears
when the man on the news says
one in five women experience sexual assault
before they graduate college.
I’m eighteen years old.
I’m at a party, and as I back away from a drunken boy
he fixes his eyes on me and asks,
‘What are you so scared of?'”