Learning How to Breathe

By day, I use words like patriarchy, say heterosexism,

or misogyny, if I’m angry enough.

Let my education speak for me,

let these ideas act as weapons,

think myself well armed.

Protected, even.

Just by knowing

what I’m in for.


I shake my head often.

Roll my eyes constantly.

Move on, quickly.

Let myself feel nothing.


Sunlight can be like forgetting.

Everything always moving,

fast walk, city streets, inhalation, forget.

Smile, forget. Speak easy, forget.

Laugh a little louder, and forget.


Till dark. Dark always comes, and I know it.

And it always comes at night.

The remembering.

And then the words mean nothing.

And the sunlight is gone.

And I feel everything, again.


It always comes at night.

How the men suffocate me.

How being woman feels like all exhale.

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