An illustrated poem about the haunting realities of manspreading.
I step onto the tram and with a bright mood I view the crowd around me. A lady with a full basket and a white fur coat mumbles to herself, almost rhythmically. An animalistic smell wafts from the coat because it has just rained. She is to my right. To my left is a young fellow with headphones that sing “Walk Like An Egyptian.”
The basket-lady and headphones-boy end up behind me when I decide to sit down.
My knees have to hit something to fit in, another pair of knees I see. I smell alcohol and wet dirt in front of me. My mood begins to flicker with the traffic lights. It leaves me like the passing wet cars on the road.
I twist and turn, flinch and jerk, but in vain the knees are kissing mine, still.
Keep your head down, I comfort myself with. This is a war you won’t win.
It’s a rape, I say, trying to seek justice and I look around to see if anyone else can agree. My final stop feels like a distant destination somewhere in a desert no one returns from.
I tell myself that these faceless knees are stealing the goodness away from me. Whatever I used to be, whatever I had is pick pocketed.
The tram assists the discomfort. It bounces, rocks and stops in sudden motions so with the knees in front of me we meet again and again.
We arrive to a stop but it’s not my turn to get off. The other knees stand up. They leave a smudged kiss. I wipe my knees bare and the smells leave me. Finally.
I inhale and think of home. I exhale and feel how far away home is.