There are few acceptable ways that “men” may deliver poems to their daughters and sisters.
They might caution against believing wide-eyed boys with massive smiles that will engulf you. They might foreshadow the weight of magazines and commercials you will carry on your back. They might tell you of a story that begins with innocence we must protect like our homes.
But I refuse to write that type of poem.
Because your story, sister, is one with more plot twists than a fairy tale may capture and will include more conflict than my hands can possibly hold. It will take place in an urban jungle with twisted paths I will never walk on. And has begun with queerness ingrained within you, spilling over, infecting everything it touches.
You are a monster with a mouth so wide and untamable that everyone fears. You are a goddess with a strut that produces cataclysmic earthquakes that breaks down banks and institutions. You are a demon whispering unutterable perversities into our ears until we cringe. You are a disease no vaccine may prepare us for.
Sister, you only needed eleven years of life to realize that being a hero is the same as being a prisoner. So, you have chosen to be the enemy.
Americans, the waves in the oceans will not rest until she fractures the borders on the land surrounding them; buildings will fall like Jenga towers unless you release their prisoners; her stories will awaken people causing an uprising to ensue; she will strut down the streets alongside her people, in solidarity with her brothers but independent of them; and your army will try to uphold its empire, to co-opt her movement, to use her work for the “greater good,” but she will nevertheless give birth to anarchy and will never apologize for it.
* this poem first appeared in Affording Academic Autonomy (2016, San Francisco State University Press).