Shrinking Women

I walk,
Down alleyways and passages,
Corridors and lanes,
And roads,
As if I am one person too much,
Occupying more space than I exist in.
So I make myself small,
Pull my hands in
And hold them folded,
Against my body.
I stick to the straight line,
That becomes fine while I walk.
And I envy that fiery stride
You take.
Step after step moving forward in silent determination,
You hold your head high for the world to see
And though you hinder me not,
I,
Unsure of my gait,
Tone it down.
And I jump in my skin,
When I hear footsteps behind me,
Or voices that I know for sure are talking about me,
Or eyes that I know are burning a hole in my clothes,
To see what lies underneath.
Is it skin?
Is it fresh meat?
I don’t know.
I gather myself up,
Shrink a little,
Trying to dissolve into thin air.

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