John likes my tights though he calls them ‘stockings’
because he is 55 with no kids and doesn’t know ‘stockings’
sounds perverse, as though there are suspenders eating my
thighs beneath my skirt. He mentions it every time I
get into the car, I never change to trousers. I wouldn’t.
We peel around corners eager, but at 20mph so there’s
space to chat, I even cry over my shit boyfriend, and he
places his hand on my knee, it feels like a slab of butcher meat.
One time he took me to a coffee shop in Frodsham, he bought
me a caramel latte, pushed it across the table with two fingers.
I took it, my heart racing, he slid his hand over, I noticed
that no one noticed. He talked about my legs again and
his glasses steamed up, like the earth was telling him not to look.
I felt grotesquely powerful in my blossoming for a moment.
But I yearnt, like a disease that spreads through a weak body,
I became flooded with desire to get out. Get out.
Can we go back soon? I muttered politely.
I just want to learn how to drive, directionless and fast,
to grip ring laden fingers over the smooth steering wheel,
to shout the lyrics to Radio 1 hits with freshly brushed teeth
anticipating the night.
I just want the safety, I just want the freedom, the abandon,
the freedom, the freedom to drive as far away as I can.
Charlie Brogan (she/her) is a writer, poet and model. She is the co-founder and editor of ‘The Rally’ magazine. Of the poem, she says, “this poem is about existing through the gaze of another, craving release and the ways in which we find our own power”. @charlieblergh
This poem is in response to a prompt selected by our Creative editor Monika Radojevic, “You, but in the eyes of another”. To stay up to date and submit your response to next month’s prompts, follow us on Instagram where we make the announcement.