Doubting Tom

Two more poems relevant to #MeToo (previous ones here and here). That’s a section in my second poetry book that keeps growing and shrinking, because there’s always a new reason to write more about it. Now I’m fantasizing about writing a short story set in a dystopia where there is so much surveillance that abuse allegations can be more easily verified—and abusive men get branded on the face. So at least you know who has behaved badly toward other women in the past, since that’s probably the most useful heuristic for predicting future abuse… (Not that more surveillance results in better outcomes for crime victims, or that “believe victims” makes sense in the context of due process, or or or…)

“Doubting Tom”

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”—John, 20:29, NIV

Bagladykiller, shopping cart caddy, glad he
feels so sure that he can shuffle me out like that—
I am currently mentally homeless.

Shuffling along in my tattered thoughts,
replying to things long said or unsaid but present,
I would abide by conversations more pleasant.

But all the streets
and all the houses
are empty when one turns to enter.

The doors don’t open
and the intersections stop
at ends of the world.

If there were others here,
but there are not even cats,
we could find a way
out of the stranded fray.

Ways do not exist here.
What you want is rest
what you want is chaos
what you want—who knows?

What you want is to have known
before he showed you
that he was one of those.

***

“Men”

There are some tribes of men
who show themselves when
they have a chance to do
what they want to you.
And they do.

It is not all of them.
Their tribe may not be very many.
I have not counted.
This realm is always unaccounted.
Forgive, forget his moment’s whim.

But if there are any
left who are pretending to be a friend,
let’s skip the violation
and make our timely end.
Even rainbows run out of ways to bend.

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