Bothered

by Eve Perrins

I am very bothered
when I remember all the terrible things
I have heard.
Especially when we are told
the world is changing.

If I am disgusted at the stories
steeped in pain and left to brew in misery
what do the victims feel?

When their leggings/ skirts/ shorts
are held under the weight of a judge
who sees fabric
as a glowing invitation
illuminated by streetlights in alleys
and the sparks
behind the eyes of the person in the dock.

I am very bothered
that ten year olds
and thirty year olds
are hidden behind the word
tradition.

I am very bothered
that I am a fraction
but my younger brother
is a whole number.

I am very bothered
that I can’t walk alone at night
without a fear of never getting home.

Dunk the witch.
If she dies
she was innocent.
If she lives we burn her.

She waited years to report
so it didn’t happen.
She wore a dress
so it was her fault.

I am very bothered.
I am very bothered.
I am very bothered.