After Olivia Gatwood’s “Girl, after Ada Limón”
I will not be shamed for falling apart
And sinking into my mattress.
For never allowing my nails to grow too long and
hook onto bedsheets.
Wear too much pink or seek out the softness
At the tip of words, of poems and song
And lose myself to sad music.
Mourn lost love longer than a man should
And tell strangers all about it.
I will not apologise for saying please and thank you and
I can’t anymore
Because all of it makes me boy.
Soft and dreaming
Sometimes lacking courage —boy.
Calling men gorgeous and beautiful and bright
A petal and a flaming chariot—boy.
My barber presses his erect penis against my shoulder
I do not flinch.
I make love to my lover, her soul and mine
Tangle and spread under the sun like a wallflower—boy
Still find pride in the act of love
Still find pride in watching her body arrive under mine.
No matter what, I will still be
Rolling on my grandmother’s green grass
‘Til my body turns to ants.
Eating ripe mangoes under the shade of a tree until my belly
Swells like the sun—boy.
Shake with anticipation at the thought of my body being
Touched and burden my poems with so much
I am still boy, man, petal—strong. Soft.