I will cut my daughter’s hair
dress her in beige and black and brown,
preferably in shirts with denim collars
and large knit sweaters and pants
with triple layers. I’ll keep her
safe in a poodle carrier
until she can walk with her two
little feet placed firmly into
metal-toed boots I customize for sharpness.
As soon as she can speak,
I’ll teach her to lower her voice
to the deepest pitches, “hello”-
she’ll speak sparsely in a coarse, whispery
voice. I’ll tattoo her a mustache as soon
as puberty starts. Her growing breasts
I’ll bind tightly, forcing her blood to suffocate
inside the rounds of her bone structure.
I’ll wrap her in pillows, dress her in monochromatic
uniforms, add a beard, harden her
hands with stones. I’ll pray with tears every
night for her uterus to vanish, for the
blood to stop, for her hips to narrow. I’ll
call her a him, keep her a secret, tie
her in a cupboard under my bed, releasing
her for air only in the quietest of nights when
she is the safest.
Except, I know she still
will never be.
I will flatten her skin, fit it crisply into
dark black outlines, cut them with an exacto knife,
mold them into golden ribbons- easily
palatable, beautiful, lovely, traditional, homely,
loving, caring, god-fearing, beautiful, quiet,
calm, understanding, unathletic, graceful-
wanted additions to the aesthetic
landscape I carefully
choose to place her in. I will cut her hair,
her body, the curve of her lips, her voice, her
smile, the way she moves her fingers.
Her breasts are a shame. Her body is a sin.
And even when I do my best to not acknowlede
its existence, she isn’t saved. Something still
gives her away.
Look away now, it’s just a normal world.