Just in Case

August 20, 2014
By

By Megan Koopman

 

When you become a woman

and your breasts start to show

in a way that makes vice principals shake

and neighborhood boys stare.

You begin to know three words so perfectly

they string together like a banner from eyelash to eyelash.

 

Just in case

 

You see them while you pay $12.99

for that hard pink plastic tube

of pepper spray.

 

While your car keys

form hard calluses

between the soft skin

that webs your middle

and pointer finger.

 

While you walk

in groups of three or four

after the sun sets

and the moonlight forgets to

warn you of the shadows.

 

A boy put his finger on the trigger

because he thought you were in debt.

Well, you’ve got this shiny pink tube

and this cab fare

to prove that you had insurance.

 

But he has lives

and you have a self defense class

on Thursdays.

He has blood

and you get pulled to the side

for a skirt too high

or a top too low.

 

They say, “slut.”

You say, “just in case.”

 

They say, “whore.”

You say, “just in case.”

 

They say, “she was asking for it.”

You say, “just in case.”

 

**********************************

Koopman, bio photoMegan Koopman studies psychology and creative writing at the University of Michigan. She wishes to live her life writing poetry as a way to remedy the solitude of female adolescence, and to be surrounded by dogs at all times.

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One Response to Just in Case

  1. Jenna Lee on August 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that I really really loved this. It perfectly describes the way women live and consider these “just in case” precautions as normal behavior. This norm is heartbreaking.

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