Fear of crime
When I was a toddler, a killer held me in his arms, much like a man’s knees hold space on a crowded train. A statement that says, Woman must make herself as small as possible, even if that means dismemberment.
Compassion for victims
A child scrapes its elbow, and we reach for a bandage, kiss the boo boo, scrape our own elbow in empathy. A widower cries, and we rub his back, like an antique oil lamp granting unlimited kindness. A woman is murdered, and we die too. A little. Then all at once.
A fascination with motives
There is a famous scene, in which an android takes a spider and, one by one, detaches its legs. Wondering why it needs legs at all, the android thinks only of its own perfection and criticizes the creature’s fragility. It thinks, If the hands of a spider are arachnophobic, why not be rid of them?
True crime provides puzzles to work out
In the matter of solving your own death, look to the people around you. Is the man in the diner tracking her movements? Does the bartender possess a sleight of hand? Are the husband’s fingerprints on the shovel? If you dig deep enough, there is always someone eager to bury you.
We are always escaping. That’s what they don’t understand. Every daylight jog in a crowded park. Every padded dismissal. Every knuckle hugging the blunt end of a house key. Anything to make it home.
Sometimes, to feel safe, all a woman needs is a glass of wine, a long night, and the intimate knowledge of fear.
Lannie Stabile (she/her), a queer Detroiter, is the winner of OutWrite’s 2020 Chapbook Competition in Poetry; the winning chapbook, “Strange Furniture,” is out with Neon Hemlock Press. She is also a back-to-back finalist for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 Glass Chapbook Series and back-to-back semifinalist for the Button Poetry 2018 and 2019 Chapbook Contests. Lannie currently holds the position of Managing Editor at Barren Magazine and is a member of the MMPR Collective. Find her on Twitter @LannieStabile.