I Know Better Now
If I could meet you again for the first time
I know I wouldn’t like you.
But I know better now.
You still say the things you’ve always said.
You think it's ok because you mean well.
That’s not enough for me anymore.
I could see him trying to stare me down.
I did my best to meet his gaze
But then he started to mutter
Spewing that vitriol and violence.
As it tumbled from your mouth
Repeating over and over again
I didn’t think it would affect me.
After all, I knew what he was doing
But I’d never felt my own power suddenly dissolve so quickly.
I think that’s what upset me the most.
You said you’d see us in the springtime
You thought you were hurting us,
and you were,
but you were mostly hurting yourself.
I could almost feel sorry for you,
but I won’t let myself.
When that man walked past me so quickly
and when he spat those words out of his mouth
with such confidence.
I was so stunned, it took me a while before I realised what had happened.
And the annoying thing was that I was angry with myself.
Tying to understand what I did to make it happen.
Furious that I didn’t have the chance to say all the things I wanted to say.
I’ll keep those words for next time.
It’s just a joke you say.
Don’t be such a killjoy,
I can hear you thinking it.
But I will always strive to kill your joy,
as long as you derive joy from this.
There are so many words they can call me,
I could write it on my body
And let it sink into my skin.
Etch it in and absorb it all.
I’ve thought about it for a while now.
Maybe I will.
the rest of our days
Originally published in FEMS Zine, issue 4
You said you planned to live out
the rest of your days here.
And for some reason
It struck me.
Not only because the earth shook for the second time since we’d been here,
Giving your words a strange ominous weight,
But because I wanted to know.
How do you know when you belong?
How did you know you belonged?
Do you know?
Maybe you don’t care if you belong or not.
Maybe belonging wasn’t something that had occurred to you.
Because for someone like you,
Belonging has never been
And will never be,
Something you have to consider with the privileges you carry.
Maybe people like you never feel like they don’t belong
Because belonging is not a question for you.
It is predetermined.
A right you were always going to inherit.
An irrefutable given.
Because the world is made for people like you.
And the rest of us must try to belong in your world
Make ourselves smaller to fit.
Stifled and dulled.
Sunk, deadened and denied.
But what if we resist.
What if we refuse.
What if we don’t want to belong in your world?
And I know it now.
I can see it,
Feel it stirring.
And we won’t.
And we promise to live out the rest of our days here.