the sunlight has no gender


i waited with my intentions in my back pockets like coins rubbed smooth
by anne’s fingers, like the stones in virginia’s coat, like the knobs of
sylvia’s oven. my bare feet swung over this empty space i tried to fill
with you, and a knot of wind gusted up. i was beginning to understand
that the breadth between your hands holds the shape of futures yet un-
furled, not like flags, but like tiny leaves that might make some bitter
tea, the black dregs of my hair at the bottom, the hair that i so longed
to be done with. each night i would tear at it with the scissors & sparks
would fly, metal-stranded resistance, silver spite that would not part
from my scalp. i was doomed to be a woman forever. i wore men’s clothes &
painted a mustache on my face, though i hated mustachioed men, and didn’t
know how to ask you to shave yours. i don’t know what kind of look you were
trying to go for, with that thin line of hair stippled on your upper lip,
and i don’t know who i thought i was kidding with my hips that were not
straight enough and my girlish mouth. why must i sing this siren song
when my throat hurts so. i wanted to ask anne but could not find her, she
was in the garage, and sylvia i thought was baking a pie in the kitchen.
i became one of virginia’s stones, not nestled in her pocket but cast
across the water, where boys and girls stand next to each other in pin-
stripe suits to confuse predators, and the sunlight has no gender.

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