Red cheeks, cross legged, angry.
Throat clenched, mascara dripped, hysterical.
I have not left my apartment in two days.
When the pizza delivery man came to my door,
I had already thought up five ways to scream
for help before my fingers reached the knob.
This is causal. This is expected of me.
When I walk home alone after dark
I am considered irresponsible, a moving target.
My family gave me a pink kitty keychain that
could rip through a grown mans liver
as a departing gift when I left for college.
Even when defending myself I must still be a lady.
Over dinner many nights, too many, my father
watches hockey fights and reminds me to always
go for the groin. He says it is “their only weak spot.”
I want to vomit into my mashed potatoes, I agree instead.
No longer do I want to be polite.
No longer do I want to have the choice of ten different
iPhone apps to call for help when I will eventually be raped.
In health class, we are taught that one in six women will
have no voice, no mercy, no decision.
Boys, always asked what girls do at sleepovers,
out of a learned flirtation we keep silent.
The truth is that we stay up swapping war stories.
We are the losing half of history.
Red eyes, fists clenched, angry.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
If you imagine the 4,500-bilion-odd years of Earth’s history compressed into a normal earthly day, then life begins very early, about 4 A.M., with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish and the enigmatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 P.M. trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 P.M. plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.
Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scene just before 11 P.M. and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. Throughout this greatly speeded-up day continents slide about and bang together at a clip that seems positively reckless. Mountains rise and melt away, ocean basins come and go, ice sheets advance and withdraw. And throughout the whole, about three times every minute, somewhere on the planet there is a flash-bulb pop of light marking the impact of a Manson-sized meteor or one even larger. It’s a wonder that anything at all can survive in such a pummeled and unsettled environment. In fact, not many things do for long.