Poem: The Workplace of Insinuation

It’s out there. In the clenched fist
The portrayal of women in advertising
In the Feminist debate
On Facebook and Twitter, the comments
That breed hatred and disguise lazy thinking.

It’s in the street as we walk
Ignoring everything around us but
The next pedestrian crossing.
The next stop light, the sliding
Office door. And you know it
You feel it
You breathe it
And you hate it.

You hate it.
The smirks, the looks, the appraising wash of eyes
Up and down.
The accusations unspoken, the spark
Of imagination and silent desire.
The accidental brush
The meeting-room put-down
The glass ceiling cracked
but never crashing.

It grows in you, around you
Like a cloak
Like a rip in the tide.
Are those hands grasping hands?
Rough hands, wanton hands?

Are those eyes hungry for you?
Are they cruel eyes, false eyes,
Possessive of all they see?

And this unspoken violence.
Is it palpable?
Is it smothering?

We steel ourselves.
All of us.
And its possibility…

Ahh but it’s a risk we all hold
And not one we acknowledge.

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