What I want is a Nightlight

Words and Artwork by Jaime (she/her), 22 QLD  

Walking into rooms and
Feeling the choking of
Gender imbalance as I
Count the amount of women
Falling under my gaze.

I just want to walk into a room
And feel it have the potential
To be a home.

Jumping and jingling at
Night with my keys splayed
Between fingers.
Every bump in the night
Sounds like a growl.

I just want to walk home
Alone from the train in the dark
And hum long with the sound
Of buzzing cicadas, croaking frogs and thrumming traffic.

Pinching my tummy and arm fat,
Poking and jiggling and bouncing and lifting
The excess of my body.
I spend the rest of the night unfollowing
Fashion brands that only stock up
To a size fourteen.

I just want to fit into
Clothes made for women,
And not think about whether it’s made for me.

Crying in the work bathroom,
Because for the umpteenth time I was
Spoken over and under and through
To the point where the most amount of value
I can provide is silence.

I just want to feel that shake
Of adrenaline as I finally tell someone
To shut up and the calm of not
Having to do it everyday.

Being a woman, and questioning
My existence, and worth and magic
Because everything I do is tainted
With a mould that shouldn’t be
My job to clean.

I just want for so much,
For stuff that I didn’t think
I’d ever have to want.

When you’re six years old,
The scariest thing in the night
Is how desolate it is,
The dark vacuum that can hold
So much that you cannot see,
How alone you feel in a
Blanket of nighttime.

When you’re twenty-six years old,
You know the night is not empty,
And the idea of not being alone
Is suddenly a lot worse
Than it being just you.

Wanting for a nightlight,
As a child and now.
Just seeking for any type of glow
That can spark some warmth in
My chest, defrosting icy wings of
Hope that crowd my heart,
And make me believe that
Just maybe, one day,
I can walk home alone at night,
And feel so at ease,
I could sleep right on the bitumen.


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