This Was Just the Way It Was

This Was Just the Way It Was

This Was Just the Way It Was

A #MeToo Poem by Eva Rosenn

Lyndale Avenue and 24th was not posh

And when I turned thirteen

Cars started slowing down

As they passed me walking from school

And men would ask how much I charged

When I told my mother

She forbad me from wearing shorts in public

But it didn’t seem to matter what I wore

When I was fourteen in junior high

I had shop class in the basement

I was half a minute late to class

(Five-minute passing periods are hard

On menstruating girls)

As the bell rang I was rushing down the hall

The door of my class within sight and

A group of boys surged out of the restroom

And groped me all over

Breasts, cunt, ass

I burned with shame

Could they feel my maxipad?

When I was fifteen

I had a social studies teacher

Who made us read a case

Where a woman was raped

And the jury found her rapist

Not guilty

Because she had been sunbathing

Topless in her own backyard

When I was sixteen

I was taking the city bus

Across town to my dance class

Near the University

And this pervert stood behind me

Trying to feel up my ass

Underneath my winter coat

I sidled away silently

I can still see his pasty face

His flat, soulless eyes

His greasy black hair

Forty years later

One of the women in my dance class

Was an exotic strawberry blonde

Who wore navy sailor pants

Without any underwear

She seemed so sophisticated

I had a terrible crush on her

She gave me a ride one night

And she told me about her professor

Who had made a pass at her

And she was afraid

She would get a bad grade

If she didn’t sleep with him

I listened

I could not offer any advice

This was just the way it was

Being female

Jacqu'in It

Jacqu'in It