In Harm’s Way

And even as I walk real slow, real soft
I can still hear my footsteps hit the concrete
The sound amplified to 125 decibels
Oh no they notice, they hear me
Their ears listen and their eyes watch
Watch my every move with such intrigue, such desire
I can sense them, see them
The street lights illuminate the expressions on their face
A young girl is never safe
“Just don’t come over here” I think
God please don’t let them notice what I am
What you created me as
What is between my legs, a part of my existence that betrays me in this world
It causes me to live in fear
It hinders me from walking with courage down those dark empty streets
“What are you” asks God
Well, I’m a woman
Not an object, not a whore, not a mistress, not a being that’s inferior to man but a woman
I try to embrace it but how can I when I’m constantly oppressed
A young girl is never safe
I walk home fast with my head down
And hope that they don’t find me interesting enough to pursue
“Just please let me get home” I pray, safely with my innocence
I don’t want any bad memories to have to reminisce
They move in closer
Fear kicks in and I start to run, faster…faster…FASTER!
My legs feel as if they’ll break like twigs under me
I can hear my heartbeat in my ears, in my head, like the sound of Batá drums
A young girl is never safe
Did I lose them…Yes
“Exhale” Another day unharmed by them
But I’ll never truly be safe because I’m a woman

Noni Abdur-Razzaq
Age 15, Grade 10
Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music
Gold Key

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