Thursday, June 07, 2007

Poem #158 of 365

The man, dressed in tight-fitting blue jeans
and a hand-tooled western-style belt watched
me from a distance and I, being the typical
lone woman traveler, eyed him eyeing me.

I couldn't ascertain if he was a station employee
or a hustler on the make for the graveyard shift,
but he seemed shifty, a bit nervous, and would
not meet my glance.

When I deliberately anchored myself to the pavement,
pretending to fiddle with the draw-cords on my pack,
it was he who had to finally approach me.

I drew in a small breath, so as not to appear stunned
or disturbed and listened as he finally spoke out loud.

Where are you going? Where have you been?
Are there drugs in that pack?

Who wants to know, I responded in a semi-retort,
looking him square in the face without meeting
his eyes.

I continued, you should never approach a woman
alone, traveling by herself, and ask such questions
without identifying yourself first.

If you are an honorable man, you will always do her
this courtesy. I don't, after all, speak to just any man.

He seemed taken aback, but kept eyeing my pack,
and he said he was with a drug trafficking unit of
the local police.

Well, show me some i.d., you think I am so stupid
that I would take a stranger at his word?

He pulled out his badge and authenticated himself,
and I straightened my posture a slight little bit.

I said, well, I have no drugs and don't use them either, and
if you need to check my pack you have plenty of time
for I am held up here for my next connecting bus. A
few hours' time.

And, furthermore, when a woman is traveling alone and
it is the middle of the night, you as a man will always
be perceived as an aggressor if you approach in such
a sneaky suspicious manner as you did to me.

How am I to feel safe around here when you as security
or local police are acting so shifty and cold?

The officer might have been impressed by my candor
and my upstart words, but for a moment I thought
I might have offended.

Instead, the officer presently smiled, and gave me his
name, and promised me he'd safeguard me closely.

He said, while you're here in the station, for however
long that will be, you have my word that I will do anything
and everything possible to make you feel safe.

And, he concluded, if any person troubles you, even
in the slightest, just let me know, and I'll handle it quick.

I let him stare at me, without glaring or retorting, I knew
when to retreat and go about my way. I pulled the big
pack up onto my back and felt his sincere concern
radiate around me like a protective wall.

We never spoke again, but I could catch glances of
him in the corner of my eyes, and for the next few
hours, while I waited and waited, I was proud of myself
for telling a policemen his job.

copyright 2007 tammy melody gomez

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