Today's poem is by Allison Joseph


Why should I be the one who walks afraid,
my shoulders hunched as if I am the one
who's acting criminal, who needs the shade
to hide away the guilt? I haven't done

a thing except remain where I belong—
woman bound for home or to the store,
whose skirt is short, or straight, or long,
who wears the clothes she likes and nothing more.

Don't tell me I should smile to please your wants;
don't tell me I should stop to talk with you;
Don't tell me what I should or should not flaunt,
what parts of me you're aching to pursue.

I have no need of you, this shouting match.
My body's not a purse for you to snatch.

Copyright © 2015 Allison Joseph All rights reserved
from Birmingham Poetry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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