Reading magazines: A poem by Ruth-Eloise Lewis

I am in the kitchen, dressed all in black

My feet on fire and flailing; running up slippery staircases

Because a job is a job.

A single lingering fingertip; a tap, a knock, a pinch

Of my skin. Reminds me that you think me inferior.

“But cheer up, it might never happen.

Are you dirty enough between the sheets?”

 

I am walking down the street, being rained on

By a constant hiss- the pluck of thirsty lips

That hunts my own body for kicks.

 

“Clever little girl.

He’s a lad, it’s a laugh- we didn’t mean to cause any offence,

She’s a slut, she’s a wench- don’t take it personally.

Don’t be frigid.”

 

You don’t need to be a misogynist to be a man.

 

“But she’s a bitch, she was asking for it-

Did she drink too much, was she wearing a skirt?”

I cut my hair short regardless of my sexuality,

Maybe being a lesbian isn’t solely for your voyeuristic pleasure,

I am sick and tired of imaging if it were my sister, my daughter, my mother:

 

It is me.

 

“Lighten up, get over it.”

 

“I’d smash her back doors in, I’d pound her pussy.

Keep calm and rape on.

You wanted it because you didn’t explicitly say no.

If you’re happy and you know it show us your tits.

Make her a sex addict.

Very capable woman, if such a thing exists.

Women’s Running; lose weight, look good.

Men’s Running: get strong, run faster, be a better athlete.

She’s probs a dyke.”
Boobs are not news.

 

I am in the kitchen, dressed all in black.

My feet on fire and flailing; running up glass staircases

Because a job is a job.

Yet, we are so much more capable-

 

Than just being looked at.

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