You know nothing, woman

Poorva 

You don’t know what it is
to be a boy, they say
Damn right!
Your childhood was pink,
your hair long
your eyes in a perpetual mission to avoid
unwanted attention
you oriented yourself
as you climbed the bus to home
every day from school
you missed school one day every month
your life a secret for five days a month
month after month
year after year
every year
you stopped playing at 7PM sharp,
while the other half of the world was still
up and about
kicking the football
you couldn’t take home

You don’t know what it is
to be a man, they say
Damn right!
You hope to leave for home early
to avoid the dark, deserted roads
you self-doubt
every time your colleague points out
how gender diverse policies got you in
You feel burdened by the good they have done
for you, for them,
by letting you in with without merit but with gender
You know nothing, woman,
all you know
is how to hide your bra-strap when it matters
for you can’t let your gender leak
to their sensitive eyes
Be like a man,
even when you have no clue
what it is to be one.

This work has been published in Beetle Magazine's July 2020 Issue

Illustration by Dhanashree Pimputkar


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