Statistic in Waiting In the grocery store, my love lets go of my hand and we part; the red sea of cold meats and bulging tomatoes splitting us beneath the stranger’s condemning eyes. Our love must be a burning bush, a miracle in the way it is still surviving. Our gender is enough to mark us target in this land, dressed permanently in black for all the girls who did not make it home. Who will not grow old. Together we are another statistic- in-waiting. So we choose security estates and townhouse complexes. Do not dream of existing in a free- standing home with no neighbours pressed close enough to share the scrape of emptied plates. We do not dare to imagine electric fenceless gardens, to hold wrap around porch silence in our future. At the traffic circle a man screams LESBIAN at me, and I do not know whether this makes me safer or more vulnerable, this being named what I am. I know only that we do not go on date nights, only date days. That I learnt to watch my back in the dark before I learnt what love was. I do not know if or when the newspapers’ daily prayer will be my name.
About the Author:
Melissa Sussens (she/her) is a queer South African veterinarian and poet. Her work has appeared in Capsule Stories, Horse Egg Literary, Kissing Dynamite, SFWP Quarterly and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others. She was runner up for the New Contrast National Poetry Prize. By day she works as a small animal veterinarian and whenever she’s not doctoring animals, she assists in teaching Megan Falley’s Poems That Don’t Suck international online writing course. Melissa lives in Cape Town with her partner and their two dogs. Find her on Instagram @melissasussens and on Twitter @girlstillwrites.
Featured image by Susan Wilkinson/Unsplash