Masculinity/Femininity

Walking down the sidewalk, you see her

Or can you, her head tucked under the baseball cap she wears

Hands stuffed into the pockets of her jeans, the shape portraying male or female

Unable to distinguish either, apart from the faint outline of her breasts,

Compressed and pulled taut under two undersized sports bras and two shirts

Trying to hide their presence from the world

Or the stiff way she walks as she fights the natural swing of her hips

Daring strangers to bring to attention the parts she wishes she could rip off

As easily as a bandage when the wound is healed

But with her, the wounds are never healed, they are shackled

Shackled under the weight of the chain swinging from her pocket

A weight that comforts her as it keeps her moving forward

She finally managed to get into a barbershop to cut her hair

The naked skin of the back of her neck proudly exposed

Her broad shoulders swinging slowly with her pace,

The muscles she worked three hours a day for stretching and flexing

Pulling under the material of her shirts

Making her way through the crowds

Catching the curious eyes of the various young women

The catcalls that would have been are silenced with one look at her body

Their silent confusion rings like a siren in her ears

Draws a smile to her face as she walks

She loves that sound; the sound of people unable to process a label

Before the victim is gone, disappearing

Twenty feet down the road with a left at the corner

Her heavy shoes stomp the ground with authority,

Yet refusing to acknowledge the attention it receives

The whispers can be heard for miles as she continues on her way

Her back arches forward as she passes by a small group of men

Willing her breasts to disappear further into her chest

Wanting to be recognized as one of them

Terrified to think about the distances she would have to go

To grant such a wish

Today, she remains a female body

Clawing at every curve and bulge

Strangling herself to achieve a figure she has admired in male fashion magazines

But on occasion, she admires the swell of her breasts

The way her face is soft and angled at just the right places

Feminine, yet not wanting to be

She continues another day of her charades and mind games

Maybe one day she’ll figure it out

And be unafraid of what people will say

 

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