On Repeat (a poem)

Dear man
walking behind me
down the street:

Tell me what it is
that compels you
to call out to me
“Hey beautiful,”
like I’m your dog
that got loose,
and you’re calling
me back.

And not that it matters
but you’ve never even
seen my face.
You are staring
at my backside
all the way down the block.

Tell me what compels you
to say it again and again,
lips peeled back over
a smile turned sneer,
from the sound of your voice.

And when I do not turn
or respond or acknowledge,
but quicken my pace
and put headphones in:
What drives you to grin
even wider and declare,
“You know, I can say this
to you all day, if I want to,
beautiful. Hey, beautiful.”

I bet you can’t tell me
because I bet you
don’t even realize
that every day of your life
you’ve been taught
to believe that my beauty
is yours to behold,
and my body is yours
to demand, and my
humanity is yours
to degrade while you
salivate over the object
I am to you:
one you think you already
own.

I know, even if you don’t,
that the myths you were taught
are telling me, too,
that I’m overreacting
and I should be flattered.

But I’m not listening
anymore.
I am tired and mad
and I put my
headphones in.

See, when this season ends
I’ll have written
46 poems in 46 days,
and two of them will be
about men being awful
just because they can.

Let’s be perfectly clear:
there are two
because most days
I just decide to write
about something
else.

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One thought on “On Repeat (a poem)

  1. Pingback: All The Poems I Wrote in Lent | Reverend Fem

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