I’m dancing at a music festival
when someone behind me
lays a hand on my shoulder.
I assume it’s a friend until
the hand shifts down my chest.
Burning with vodka and fury
I snatch his wrist, pull around,
and hit him in the jaw.
It doesn’t strike well—
I’ve never punched anyone before—
so I knock him in the gut,
just for good measure.
I stare at him, doubled over and spit
Never do that to a woman again,
and then I run fast.
My friends laugh in the car:
You hit a guy!
but I sit silent and fiery.
In Quezon City, in Makati,
in Boracay: men leer and
smack their lips and whistle.
I give them the evil eye,
or flip them off,
or tell them leave me alone; I’m married.
When they churr ganda/sexy/
smile ka naman! sungit mo naman!
I yell puñeta! and they all laugh.
I’m not sure if they’re laughing at me
for being a girl
incorrectly speaking swear words,
or at the idea that anything
I utter might actually clam them up.
In my unguarded rage I dream of a society
where I am not a public property. I would
march and begin wars
for my right to wander down a street
free from fear or danger,
a hundred wars for a day
in which my able body belongs to me alone.
A battalion raised against each cat call. A bullet
for every harry who ever told me to smile.