Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Shiver


i still shiver
when fingers touch my neck without forewarning.
if a man tries to whisper in my ear,
my body freezes
like the temperature just dropped.

this body used to be
raw honey for black tea,
good music for a weary soul.

my voice used to sing simple songs
about my day or foods i like.

but this tongue grew numb
and i still get nervous
when the weight i purposely gained
slips away.

i’m still suspicious of strangers;
plot escape plans
when i walk in alleys alone:
if i’m wearing heels,
i practice in my head
how i’ll stab a crazy man in the eye;
if wearing boots,
i plan to knock him down, stomp, and run;
if any other shoes,
then knee must be used.
all this preparation for a woman
who’s never been attacked by someone she didn’t know;
all these thoughts of violence for a woman
who thought love conquered all.

but i had one failure,
trusted when i should’ve been cautious,
stayed when i should have left,
entertained when i should have ignored…

and sometimes i still
shiver.

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8 responses

  1. A simple ‘wow’ covers all the emotions you made me feel as I read this…kudos!

    March 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  2. This is beautiful and honest.

    March 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

  3. powerful. i like the intonation, the undercurrent of fear. beautifully executed! xx

    March 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

  4. “this body used to be raw honey for black tea”
    WHATT!?!?!?!?!?!! wow. *sigh*
    love it. love them all. love you.

    April 17, 2011 at 8:38 am

  5. Caddo Veil

    Oh my gosh, do I understand this–it’s beautiful and sad-horrible all at once. Thank you for sharing my thoughts in your words! And I do pray you’re richly blessed today.

    December 1, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  6. love your connection to the human condition. I am now a fan of your lovely work and will be following! ♥ Keep penning, your amazing!

    Kellie
    Twitter: @BackyardPonders
    Facebook: /magicinthebackyard

    December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    • Thank you, Kellie!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

  7. Those little birds seemed to be tweeting my name so I riveted them onto some cool name plates love the name plates .

    December 26, 2011 at 3:00 am

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