Jane Symonds

wordsmith and mongrel

#metoo

The night you grabbed me in the street
Uber said,
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The night you grabbed me in the street
my friend was visiting
from Peru. As I left she clutched my face and told me
she loved me, and she was glad
I existed

The night you grabbed me in the street
there were no taxis.

The night you grabbed me in the street
I had almost not gone out because I was
sleepy, and it was
a long metro ride to find my friends, but they said
please come
so I put on a pretty skirt and some
red lipstick that made me feel
bold
and in the end we had so much fun, I danced
until 4am

The night you grabbed me in the street
I had just got off
the night bus, where I had been thinking about
how Margaret Atwood said men are afraid women
will laugh at them, and women are afraid men will
kill them.

The night you grabbed me in the street
had been so happy

The night you grabbed me in the street
I was hurrying home thinking about
the man who just stared at me for 20 minutes at the bus stop and
the man who had run across traffic to say
mademoiselle, can I stay at your place tonight?

The night you grabbed me in the street
you spoke to me first and when I did not answer
you called me obscenities and when I kept walking
your friend shoved me and when I kept walking still
you ran after me and grabbed my arse

The night you grabbed me in the street
was only the second time it’s happened to me. That’s how I told it to my friend,
the next day:
only the second time.

The night you grabbed me in the street
I turned back to look at you in disgust but I did not
break stride, or
tell you off, or
grab you back
because flight seemed the least dangerous option

The night you grabbed me in the street
I felt sick and scared and ashamed
and then grateful
that it was only a shove and a grope
and I wondered how you felt or if you had already
forgotten

The night after you grabbed me in the street I did not
dance,
or jog,
or walk
through the city I have made my home.

1 Comment

  1. Frances Symonds

    October 30, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Oh darling. I’m glad you warned me.

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