Cages

When she was younger, they put her in a cage
They never let her out, not even on weekends
It didn't matter what she wanted or how she felt
It was a rite of passage, after all
It was all part of becoming that woman
Free to be a woman just like them
It was her heresy to dream of a different way
To be the person she dreamed she could be

But you get used to it, daughter
Your pain is your own fault, not ours.

When he was younger, they taught him to be in charge
It was no one's expectation, the world required it
His fears did not matter for he was not allowed to care
It was how real men behaved, of course
It was how a man proved his worth
Free to be strong and needless like they were
If he ever wondered if there might be another way
He could never admit it to anyone, least of all himself

We're all like this, don't you know that
Even to conceive of difference, this is weakness

And now that I am older and I embrace the cage
When my tears fall like rain and I don't care who sees
I'm not a performance piece for your amusement
I don't care if you think me less of a woman
It doesn't matter if you think me an insufficient male
This is what I need today for and of and by myself
I'm not even sorry that your confusion does not trouble me
I don't need your permission or approval anymore

Just leave me to it, can you do that
Neither the woman nor the man in me is broken

I am no longer content to choose between your binaries
And do not call me unhappy or discontented
I'm disenchanted since I lack your enchantment
If I fail, I fail in my mediocrity, fail in my complacency
I've never failed you, it's your labels that have failed me
And now and tomorrow, I leave you to them
May they do you every good that they never did me

I feel so light now, so prone to dance, so prepared
To greet myself each day, as if for the first time.

 

2010

creative commons