19 of 30/ ON WALKING DOWN THE STREET AS A HUMAN BEING/ 47

it almost felt alien to me, 

not hearing a whistle as I walked

past a group of boys, not feeling

the heat of a stranger’s glare on 

my back, or more accurately,

my ass, not feeling exposed with

every step I take, not feeling

like meat waiting to be turned

into a meal, not feeling like 

a target, waiting to be shot at.

I had forgotten what this

warm breeze of freedom felt

like, forgotten that I too had

a claim to public spaces, 

forgotten that my identity 

counted as much as theirs did,

but can you blame me? Who

can remember who they are when

in the eyes of the world, they

shapeshifted into a beast to

control centuries ago? Who can

reclaim a freedom they’ve never 

gotten? Who can hear the 

sound of harassment over and

over and over again, and not 

respond to abuse as a mating call?

Who can blame me, when 

something as simple as walking

down the street as a human being

is a luxury that I’ve never been

given? Instead, all I’ve ever

been in this place, is afraid.

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