Anti-Street Harassment Poem by Nura Rose Sala

 

Safe

I was in rush
I was late for school
I was wearing my beautiful new red heels
I was in a hurry ,but I felt good
I needed to catch that bus
I crossed the street
slowed down by the high school
there were one or two guys hanging out in the yard
but my neighborhood is safe in the morning

half a block past, I saw someone behind me
walking quickly to catch up
a young man in leather jacket,
he moved in behind me

I looked ahead walking faster

the corners of my eyes were wide open

I was walking faster
but he was catching up
easily and effortlessly
he slid right up to me,
breathing down my neck
i felt trapped, helpless
I wasn’t going to lose control
I had heels on , I wasn’t going to run

there was no one on the street
even in the distance
the morning birds were singing
my neighborhood was supposed to be safe in the morning

 

I kept walking fast

I kept scanning for a person, a policeman, anybody

where were the people heading for work?

I am strong

I grew up in the country, climbing trees

I grew up romping with three brothers

I taught my brother how to throw a baseball

 

finally two blocks down

there is a policeman

he is getting into his vehicle

he is shutting the door

I run as fast as I can

why don’t I scream?

my voice has evaporated

I am too far away

the police car pulls out

I am getting angry and desperate

I decide to turn around

I will punch him

I turn around into his flat hard face

I grabbed his collar

but something in me was paralyzed

I am a gentle person

I am just hanging on

he yells “you fuckin’ white bitch!”
and punches me right in the face

then walks away casually, triumphant

not hurrying at all

my head was spiked with razor blade stars

I reeled, I numbly continued walking to the bus stop,
only a half a block away

I was ashamed

I couldn’t defend myself
why was no one there ?
why did not one see?

what happened to my neighborhood safe in the morning?

the pressure inside suspended my tears

I had to keep going
keep moving

I was late for class.

 

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