Thursday, 28 March 2013

If The World Ends...

‘Things like this happen every day and nothing will be changed. Only if the world ends will anything change.’

Later, when you stagger beneath palms. Gaze at stars.
on salted air swept up in foamy sea.
You’ll wonder at this beauty, spread
before your feet. Already
by three others and declare,
‘So – why not, also, me?’

When the roar of surf against the beach batters
your eardrums, you’ll try to halt her
of pain. Leading you on.
Silk, sari, sensuous. Revealing breasts and hips and broken
where three fists, flung. Driven fucking crazy with her sexy
strutting home – alone – from college or the call centre.

They all do It.
Travel after dark. After 6pm.
(Your sister wouldn’t)
Dress like that. Provocative. Asking for It.
And, as golden sand thrusts
between your toes, you’ll ponder, RAPE:
a big, big problem. For women.
Who ask for It. Wearing short and sexy dresses.

When you think of shadows, of men gathered beyond
the veil
of light that bathed the street, you’ll recall she begged
for It. And screams and cries and howls
mean nothing when a woman travels late
at night – well – after seven.
(Your sister wouldn’t)
get a job or think she’s safe or want equality.

Or shiny cars and huge bank balances
between bruised and battered legs.
Or dress like that, or walk the streets, or go to work,
or dream of
safety, in numbers, when
you felt threatened by this woman who, so evidently,
Asked for It.

(As told to Gethin Chamberlain in Baga, Goa, 2013)

© Carolyn Cornthwaite

'If girls look sexy, boys will rape.' Is this what Indian men really believe?

Carolyn writes poetry sporadically or relentlessly (depending on the season) and is influenced by travel, former careers and people watching. She dreams of Booker Prizes and a life in France. @carolyn_corny