(en)gender fluid

(en)gender fluid

To paint hair where they ask all women to strip nude

their flesh of every imperfection, our pores sapped of substance

for the sake of beauty, Lydia dares tread a rickety stroll

between acceptable and inappropriate, words constructed to shame

us into desires we only name to appease low-voiced men

idling days dreaming of women they don’t even want — that is,

respect — and Lydia, her fedora secreting her long braids

beneath its brim, trousers stitched to fit her widened hips, blows hot

smoke in their faces, their greasy mouths coughing ashes

into gutters emitting the foul smell of their forays into the haze of

night, heels stamping toes kicking groins smashed against

the secret of our brazen want: Lydia does as she pleases, sips her

whiskey neat and curses their steely stares, says don’t label

her a miscreant: she’s a person with just as much right to sit at this

bar and nurse her drink as you do, & men shoot us words that

sting cheeks bright red, our blood boiling regret and indignation:

stop, Lydia, says, follow my lead — let’s create a language

in which we can finally hear ourselves breathe: so easy, so free.

Marilee Goad is a queer poet who attended the University of Chicago and has work published or forthcoming in Ghost City Review, OUT/CAST, Persephone’s Daughters, and rose quartz journal. You can follow her on twitter @_gracilis and find her website at

#poetry #marileegoad

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