The List

by anonymous

I have a list

Thirty-six names long

Curated over one week

It’s called “bad men”

You can only fucking imagine.

The innocuous

The powerful

Boys down the hall.

This list burns a hole in my heart

For all the people

Who had to add someone

For all the people

Who’ve never read it

For everyone who has read it

And lost friends because of it.

The List sits heavy in my stomach

An ache I carry

Everywhere I go.

I want everyone to read it

And everyone to know

I want people to know for their safety

So everyone can watch them at bars

Glare at them on campus

And add names to The List

Because thirty-six is a lot

But it isn’t close to them all.

I want the men on The List

To know they are there

That their crime

Is not unacknowledged.

I want them to fear me

To fear the knowledge

I brandish with both hands

To experience a fraction of the fear

We know walking home alone

Or out with friends

To know my glare isn’t just my bitch face

But resides deeper

Burns brighter

Is directed

Knows

I know this list is dangerous.

I feel the power of it.

Made public it could ruin lives

And I’m half tempted anyway

Because to be on this list

You have harmed another human profoundly.

What stops me from sharing it

Is not because I value their lives

Nor is it for my own safety

It’s for the safety of those

Who are the reason someone is on the list.

For the person who once

Felt brave enough

Or sad enough

To share their trauma with another

And who did not know

At the time

That his name would make its way

Back to me

To The List.

List dynamics are complicated

Black and brown men are over-represented

White rapists are under-represented

There are no women on The List.

Complicated complicated

I do not trust

The system named “Justice”

To do right by survivors

I don’t trust its racist violent nature

To handle The List

The way it should be handled

How should it be handled?

Complicated complicated.

I’m tired of carrying it alone

Among a small group

Of strong people

Who are also deeply tired.

So for now it resides here

In a poem I do not know

If I’ll have the strength

To read aloud.

Thirty-six names

And growing

Marina Mavridis