Women in Peril

Q: Who was the silent movie woman tied to the train track, Helen or Pauline?
A: Helen and Pauline

In 1914 everyone tied a woman to some train tracks,
ladies had to walk quickly when passing a saw mill.

A woman should never travel alone. Even in long skirts,
certain places aren’t safe: movie theaters, the edges
of the yard. A forest is an unending supply of trees to be tied to.
Never know when a saw mill would appear in your path.
Women share maps marked with red X’s.

Even through the engine noise, I hear robber boots on the roof of the train.
I feel another hand when I reach into my purse.

I know I can’t take a break from being chaste,
but can I take a break from being chased?
Do kidnappers ever take a vacation?

I ordered a pair of underwear that locks.

He thinks he wins when he gets hold of my skirts, so many layers
to climb through, he forgets why or becomes exhausted.
A frenzy of ruffles like his own frothing.

by Valerie Loveland

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