Illustration by Alyssa Osasere.

The men in our lives

The architects of our doom,
Our protectors and our danger,
Our peace keepers and our oppressors,
They risk our safety to save our lives.
They are monsters not under beds,
But the other side of the mattress.

‘Don’t wear that my sister’
Instead ‘don’t touch her my brother’.
‘Don’t fall for men like that’
Not ‘treat her right friend.’
‘Always watch your drink’
Not ‘don’t slip it in’
‘Choose better’
Not ‘do better’

They build houses,
then terrorize our homes.
Put food on the table,
then break plates on our heads.
They keep lights on,
then send us out in strobes and sirens.

It is not the dark alleys,
the darkened enclaves of our cities,
they are at our dinner tables,
master bedrooms,
in our classes,
our parties,
the men in our lives.