Man On The Night Tube


He yells something at me

Partly inaudible, slurred, but no doubt an attempt at a show of prowess

Moves, from

“You alright darlin?”

Quickly succeeded by

“Give us a smile then!”

I turn around with confidence as I yell back

Something smart and witty to make his boys coo at my cleverness

“He got told!”

They yell at him

But he still raises his voice

Still shouts profanities at me as I descend the escalator

I turn around with a smile and my middle finger held high in defiance

I exude confidence

But what he doesn’t see is my lower lip tremble as my head drops to the floor

Drops of water cascade down my face


I’m not sure but my shaking hand wipes away tears from my face

And I tell myself to be strong

Fire fills my chest as i want to shout words at that Prick

Make him feel how I feel

As I let the words penetrate and permeate in my brain

Or do they?

They’re empty threats now,

The more you hear them the more bnumb you become

But each one is a sharp pick, chips away bit by bit

And even when you think no words can hurt you

Your shield is invincible

You’ve built your armour so thick no arrow can move through it

One will still get around it

Hit you in the eye like old King Harold we heard so much about when we were little

Tears still trickle

Down your cheek when you remember those names you were called on the playground for not giving him a kiss

And the ones you were called when you did

And that man,

Eyes like ice who probably voted for Brexit ‘believe in’ Britain

Sipping his tin

Laughing at the thrill of making some girl on the night tube feel uncomfortable

When will it end?

When your daughter grows up to receive the same treatment is that it?

Or will you even be woke enough to realise it


Of all the women in your life who have heard these words directed at them

Aimed like the barrel of a gun at their forehead

But instead of a bullet the weapons even more dangerous; words

They transcribe the use of a bullet and they create more than just bullet wounds

They form ideas.

And ideas are bullet proof

Ella Guthrie
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