poetry

30 days of poems: day eight

I love this, especially—as a woman almost always dressed to say “No one tells me what to do.”—the last two stanzas. I was never molested by any male relatives, but I was taken away from my father and turned against him. Before that, “cauldron of curses” is a good way of putting what life was like. In any case, this is a good one. 

Gender Bender

By Jennifer Michael Hecht

Evolution settles for a while on various stable balances.
One is that some of the girls like cute boys and some
like ugly older men and sometimes women. The difference
between them is the ones who like older men were felt up

by their fathers or uncles or older brothers, or if he didn’t
touch you, still you lived in his cauldron of curses and
urges which could be just as worse. They grow already old,
angry, and wise, they get rich, get mean, get theirs.

The untouched/uncursed others are happy never needing
to do much, and never do much more than good. They envy
their mean, rich, talented, drunk sisters. Good girls drink milk
and make milk and know they’ve missed out and know they’re

better off. They might dance and design but won’t rip out lungs
for a flag. Bad ones write books and slash red paint on canvas
they’ve rage to vent, they’ve fault lines and will rip a toga off
a Caesar and stab a goat for the ether. It’s as simple as that.

Either, deep in the dark of your history, someone showed you
that you could be used as a cash machine, as a popcorn popper,
as a rocket launch, as a coin-slot jackpot spunker, or they didn’t
and you grew up unused and clueless. Either you got a clue

and spiked lunch or you got zilch but no punch. And you
never knew. It’s exactly not anyone’s fault. If it happened
and you don’t like older men that’s just because you like
them so much you won’t let yourself have one. If you did

everyone would see. Then they would know what happened
a long time ago, with you and with that original him, whose eyes
you’ve been avoiding for decades gone forgotten. That’s why
you date men smaller than you or not at all. Or maybe you’ve

turned into a man. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just human
and it is what happens. Or doesn’t happen. That’s that. Any
questions? If you see a girl dressed to say No one tells me
what to do
, you know someone once told her what to do.

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