Sunsets have always chased me home
these feet dragged me back
when the streets got dark and cold.
How is this country unsafe for me, you ask,
my phone explodes with concern after dark,
my memories don’t go beyond dusk.
I retrace my nervous gait to the risky roads
skimming the world and lowering my skirt,
wary of the male gaze eyeing those folds.
The air is stained with lechery
I walk zig-zag through the lewd thoughts,
inching my fabric shield closer to my body.
My clicking heels blare my arrival,
violating stares linger in anticipation
My buttons and zips rise up in apprehension.
Sailing through an ocean of objectification,
this skin conjures up a car wash
Lurid comments barge into my clothes,
stares stream like lava on this body
my path is crawling with frenzied predators
not a soul rescues me from this monstrosity.
The violation slaps a truth on my face,
I’m just a commodity, a dish to taste.
A hand bombs my boundaries out of the blue
a catcall pierces the air, ripping my seams
and a filthy grin lunges at my chest like glue.
The ocean chokes my bubble of safety
until the air has counted my escaping breaths
as I tremble in the violent fight for my dignity.
Ambalika Chaudhry is an aspiring writer who wants to carve out a place in journalism but is a voracious reader and vivid thinker for the time being.