Am I Safe?

I wonder if you notice
the way that I pull back?
Have I given too much credit
– thinking,
of course, they have my back.
Have you seen me hide my chest,
where the skin dips down, curves up
in spirals at my breast?
And how I shrug my shoulders in,
Making sure they never look their best.
Have you looked at how I duck my head
on camera, off camera, in person,
not in person,
unsure of how my femininity might be perceived?
Did you notice that I pulled my hair back,
at our last team meeting,
because I’m unsure how its new length would be received?
It rolls in waves down my face,
and I know how much men like that.
So, that’s enough of that,
away it goes, tied back.

I wonder if you notice,
the block that lives beneath my collar bones,
it’s made a home in rusted pages of bibles,
I lost a long time ago.
You can see it in the way I angle
my eyes and body,
away from yours.
I wonder if you notice,
the way that I pull back?
Have I given too much credit,
– thinking,
of course, they have my back.
I wonder if you notice,
because if you did it would have to mean,
that you’ve chosen not to reach out,
to make it seem –
more safe, to be female now.
More safe, to act female now,
instead of ‘one of the guys,’ or even,
as a corporate bot,
who must hide the skin of her shoulders,
as the distractions they are (not.)


I wonder if you notice,
that when I say female,
I mean unashamed of soft, high breasts,
or low, swinging ones.
Unabashed by wide hips, or narrow ones.
Short hair, long hair,
Eyes wide or sharp and small –
(apparently, by the power of my body,
I am a siren call.
Imagine that.)

You see, what I’ve noticed is that,
it doesn’t matter if we’re tight, or soft,
small or tall,
it barely matters what age we are,
before we get the call,
the memo, the info, the handbook –
we circle back to the fact,
that ‘feminine’ means,
hide, deride, walk away
– maybe lie
to feel safe.
I wonder if you notice
the way that I pull back?
Have I given too much credit
– thinking,
of course, they have my back.

Of course, after #metoo, and
Harris’ victory, liberal talks with liberal guys,
that say,
‘I’m a feminist, too,’
I thought that saying I feel unsafe,
might be a safe thing to do.
Instead, that doesn’t quite seem to be the case,
And I wonder,
if in the place,
of safety, you are satisfied,
with the lie that engenders the complacency,
of all genders as we gently lock voices away,
lock the possibility of the safety of sex-expression,
in a place far, far away.
so we won’t have to acknowledge,
that being human,
is a fragile thing.
After all, we hold darkness, too.
We all hold darkness, too,
but, if you refuse to acknowledge it,
you lock away the beauty, too.
I feel unsafe, too.
I wonder if you notice, too
the way that I pull back to
hide inside a place, you will never arrive,
because you’ve shut the door on my invitation,
to welcome the dawning of a new inspiration,
that is not sexy, but is sexy because it’s safe?
Have I given too much credit
– thinking,
of course, they have my back –
when maybe you’ve been asking,
with silence,
for me to lock it away,
for God to take it back?

Published by LughLana

Hey there. My name is Ash. Whenever I feel lost or confused, I write. This blog is a project in releasing the poetry I would have kept locked up inside, otherwise. It's pronounced 'LOU-lah-NA.' Enjoy your visit!

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