The city at 4:30 AM lies brain-dead,
blinking streetlights and wandering headlights
fighting the swallowing black.
I skirt around mother-breaking cracks in sloped sidewalk,
a puny pink pepper spray tube
encased within my slender hands,

because crime shows and parents and news stations
say that monsters and villains always attack
women who walk alone in the dark.

Bubble-headed bombshells giggling and tripping
over too high heels on their way home from the bar,
unthinking of the trailing stranger matching their step.
Or dainty doe-eyed damsels run-walking with purses clutched tight
to pounding chests, regretting missing the bus or taking that late shift,
they whisper "Stupid! What was I thinking?"

And what about me? What am I thinking?

I'm thinking I want to join the night,
this time of the dead and wicked,
prowling over dented cans and muddied papers,
carrying a knife as sharp and as grim
as the bones in my fingers and
the glint in my eye.