Looking Apprehensive

Twilight and imagination runs
Wild moon auditory ghosts haunt
My breath catches with the sound
Rattlesnake warning shake
Wind skitter leaves scrape
Sidewalk motions
Mid-stride pause
Collect
Thoughts

With daylight savings time, I leave work and it is already getting dark. That generally doesn’t bother me. But lately I’m a little apprehensive about walking to the parking lot alone. Campus security has sent 2 emails in the last week concerning assaults. Both instances occurred as the women were walking to or from the far parking lot. This lot is accessed by a long curving lane. There are 12 foot chain link fences on each side supposedly to keep the wildlife away from the pedestrians. (Yes, the parking lot path cuts through a wooded area.)

In the first assault, the woman passed a man walking in the opposite direction. She then realized that he had passed her and turned around and was following her. She was within view of her car and decided to run to the car to evade him. She wasn’t fast enough. The parking lot surveillance cameras captured a really decent image of the man, including a good view of his face. He has not been caught. Yet.

The second instance, the woman was walking from the parking lot when a man came running toward her. He acted like he was being chased (looking over his shoulder as if being followed). He passed by her closely and pushed her as he ran. She fell down. He stopped and apologized and held out his hand to help her up. When she took his hand, he twisted her arm and forced her to the ground and attempted to rape her. She was stronger than he anticipated. She fought him off. This took place within 3 feet of an emergency call station. This suspect is still at large as well…

It makes me nervous. Most of the campus assaults happen in the dorms and both parties are drinking. They are college students and generally know one another. But this is different. These men are predators. They are stalking women and are carefully choosing the time and place. On the bright side, campus security police are out in force. The bicycle patrols are everywhere. The cars are making more frequent sweeps across campus. An it appears that the campus safety escort has been revived. Generally they are young men from the ROTC program who will walk you to your car or to your night class. It used to be free and I’m hoping it still is. I may have to email to get a body guard if I have to stay late too many more times!

Above is a Nonet, that is a reverse Etheree, consisting of 9 lines. The first line is 9 syllables and each successive line is diminished by one syllable. The poem does not require any meter or rhyme scheme. My imagination tends to run free when sparked with a touch of anxiety and a little fear…

18 thoughts on “Looking Apprehensive

    1. I had to park there yesterday and there were several of us headed to that lot, a rag-tag group of graduate students, faculty and staff. We walked together since there is safety in numbers. Everyone is hyper vigilant right now.

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  1. Thanks to the young men who are escorting ladies to their cars. There will always be disquiet souls, whose “power” is derived from physical domination. Let there always be those who can stop them.

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    1. Indeed. I was lucky to park in the ROTC lot this morning – managed to get to see the hoisting of the flag and the attendant ceremonies… I am watchful and aware of who is around. I try to avoid trouble.

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  2. Do make sure not to walk alone in the dark to your car — use those escort services! USC publishes a map of campus at the beginning of every year showing red on the areas where there is danger, and always encourages escorts in those areas — awareness is one of the best protections! Do take care!

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    1. I’m on it. I have a couple friend in the Security Police Dept. One of my coworker’s is the daughter of the Asst. Director of Campus Safety. All I have to do is mention my dept. and we get attention. I haven’t had to call for an escort but I have the number in my phone under favorites!

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  3. Please call your husband and let him know that you are leaving the office, and be talking to him or your sons or the security guard while walking. get a Mace and keep it handy in your pocket. and finally get a shrill whistle that you can have either as an App on your phone or wear it around your neck. Most important of all, alert the Security that you are leaving and want some one to walk with you. Please do that.

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    1. Please don’t worry – I take all the precautions. I have a whistle on my key chain and I text or talk as I’m leaving the building. I always let Sparky know I’m on my way to the car. Generally there are lots of other people on campus. When it is late and dark and no one is around be assured I will be calling for a security escort to my car.

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  4. I approve of all the good advice given by your friends….so as your mother, follow and be careful! ps I liked your poem too.

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