All colour bleached by thieving lamplight;
The moon hidden by sulking clouds.
You think to yourself how the air is fresh,
How you're glad of night's shroud;
How the rain tingles on titillated gooseflesh.
You don't think about how later,
In the harsh glare of daylight,
How the lawyers will examine your outfit -
A matter of taste, surely! - no, provocation;
And how you were inebriated - to wit,
It can all be blamed on your intoxication.
A lone woman is a target;
You should have recognised your aim.
A lone man is a predator; restraint
Constrained to women-folk and folklore.
Your lurid makeup is as war paint!
Tone it down, you tart, you -
"Hold on a minute." Your voice shakes.
You cast your mind back to the alley
Which reeked of blood and urine and shame,
Where you thrashed and his hot breath curled:
"Are you saying this man was a beast I could tame?
Even though I'm - quote-unquote - only a girl?"
The lawyers shuffle and wheeze to the effect
That this could have been prevented,
Had you only been more aware.
How a man cannot control his urges,
How you glance at the defendant's chair.
How you will never be able to purge
That twisted grin or his scent from your hair.
How the tide of tears begins to surge,
How but an eye-roll breaks the judge's stare;
How "not guilty" chimes like a funeral dirge.