ASKING FOR IT BY S.E. STREET

It’s the way you walk—

a school friend told me.

I thought I just walked

and not in a way

that was blameworthy.

After all, as I was splashing

my girl feet in a rock pool

and the naked man

appeared beside me,

his turgid profile

stealing the horizon— 

I was sitting down.

Years later, when I was on a bus

and a truck pulled alongside,

the driver showing me

what he thought was unique

out the side of his shorts— 

I was reading.

In the mountain valley,

surrounded by local herdsmen

calling out their intentions

for my body

as they perched high

on rocky lookouts

above the river—

I was swimming.

Once, in a friend’s kitchen

a man mistook my breast

for a lemon that needed to be squeezed— 

I was standing quite still.