stooping to gather up the little scraps of scripture
that fell from your mouth when you tried to wish them away.
You cussed and stuffed them in your pockets,
hiding behind your collar like some incognito Hebrew prince
when the preacher who regularly haunts fifth and third
tried to make eye contact.
I would have followed you home right then and there
if the bustop angel hadn’t told me to exercise some self-control
and bide my damn time.
Sure enough, two Sundays later you wander into church
with Elijah in your eyes and Hosea on your lips
and I’m sorry, but no one should be allowed
to look that good wearing the stigmata.
Mom told me never to date boys in bands
but she was mum on the subject of prophets,
so I paid just as much attention to the stardust in your hair,
the tremor of your pretty hands, and the bow of your lips
as I did the message you delivered through tight teeth.
When the congregation demanded your divinity school degree,
your immigration papers and church membership,
that little bit of God that lives in my eardrums
started roaring verbs like defend, affirm, intercede,
and suddenly I was clutching you, warding off the dark
with my mother’s blood and the promises of my forefathers
and the damn good Devil’s advocacy of a liberal education.
They say I spoke electric hosannas not seen since antiquity.
I beg to differ. I only loosed the songbirds Adonai
poised in my throat ages ago, the ones waiting
for the boy with anointing oil in his veins
and light thrumming from his chest.
My boy is a sandstorm and that’s how I like you,
wedged so deep in the nooks and crannies of me
that no scrubbing could rid me of the bits you leave behind.
They say your girl is a trained falcon,
flying before you to strike down your enemies,
but you and I know better.
Your girl is a mourning dove,
circling and seeking a safe place for us to land,
fetching you olive leaves and other good things
that we can have and build and give to others.
So we will inhabit the dusky halfway places,
sharing our bed with the visions that come as dreams,
and smuggling fire into long-dead revolutions,
for I was born for such a creature as you"
— My Boy is a Sandstorm by S.T. Gibson (moreorlesstouched)
A boy sprawled next to me on the bus, elbows out, knee pointing sharp into my thigh.
He frowned at me when I uncrossed my legs, unfolded my hands
and splayed out like boys are taught to: all big, loose limbs.
I made sure to jab him in the side with my pretty little sharp purse.
At first he opened his mouth like I expected him to, but instead of speaking up he sat there, quiet, and took it for the whole bus ride.
Like a girl.
Once, a boy said my anger was cute, and he laughed,
and I remember thinking that I should sit there and take it,
because it isn’t ladylike to cause a scene and girls aren’t supposed to raise their voices.
But then he laughed again and all I saw
was my pretty little sharp nails digging into his cheek
before drawing back and making a horribly unladylike fist.
(my teacher informed me later that there is no ladylike way of making a fist.)
When we were both in the principal’s office twenty minutes later
him with a bloody mouth and cheek, me with skinned knuckles,
I tried to explain in words that I didn’t have yet
that I was tired of having my emotions not taken seriously
just because I’m a girl.
Girls are taught: be small, so boys can be big.
Don’t take up any more space than absolutely necessary.
Be small and smooth with soft edges
and hold in the howling when they touch you and it hurts:
the sandpaper scrape of their body hair that we would be shamed for having,
the greedy hands that press too hard and too often take without asking permission.
Girls are taught: be quiet and unimposing and oh so small
when they heckle you with their big voices from the window of a car,
because it’s rude to scream curse words back at them, and they’d just laugh anyway.
We’re taught to pin on smiles for the boys who jeer at us on the street
who see us as convenient bodies instead of people.
Girls are taught: hush, be hairless and small and soft,
so we sit there and take it and hold in the howling,
pretend to be obedient lapdogs instead of the wolves we are.
We pin pretty little sharp smiles on our faces instead of opening our mouths,
because if we do we get accused of silly women emotions
blowing everything out of proportion with our PMS, we get
condescending pet names and not-so-discreet eyerolls.
Once, I got told I punched like a girl.
I told him, Good. I hope my pretty little sharp rings leave scars.
— 'My Perfume Doubles As Mace,' theappleppielifestyle. (via theappleppielifestyle)