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M.O.A.F.S.O.A.B -- poetry by Lily Gerhard

I.


I am a woman who for the most part is anything but

There is nothing I love more than the color pink

and how a dress looks on my body

Except my crippled feet could never fit into stilettos

When I was 11 my friends wanted to paint their nails at a birthday party

When I tried to do my right ones it looked sloppier than a painting by

a newborn kitten

And my left hand wouldn’t even open enough to see my nails

When I was 12 years old my PE teacher told our class that all the girls needed to put

their hair up into pigs or ponies

Everyone stared at me in my gym shorts glory

When I walked out with hair like a boys a couple months later

Because I could not put my hair up like the other girls

Learning my hand at rubber bands was a ritual I was not privileged to

As much as I wanted to be

And I didn’t want to cause a hassle

And the thing was I liked my manish hair

It was strong and like I was free soloing a mountain that only I knew

And wasn’t that a marvel to behold

And just that year I realized the reason I didn’t want to talk about

boys at sleepovers



II.


I’m older now and I’ve grown into a woman

And when I was 15 I got into my first fight with a stranger on the internet

It’s about abortion which is one of the most controversial things to have

your first internet fight about

But I’m speaking louder than I should

And he calls me a bitch

And that’s the first time I’m called something like that

And not the last

Because I am loud, I am passionate, and I am impulsive

I’m emotional which is something a woman should be

Except I’ve never done it in the way that men like

I’m the loudest one in my history class

I’m writing up essays on instagram stories

I’m the girl that would earn SJW as a high school superlative

I’m what you might call a future mother of a son of a bitch



III.


I’ve always been emotional which is probably the most important

Of the previous four traits

I’m emotional because I cry at the end of romantic comedies

I’m emotional because I get angry when I hit my funny bone or

can’t get my makeup just right

I’m emotional because I get so excited when I see a friend

after just a week of not seeing them

Except the reason that I’m emotional to men

I am angry indigenous women are missing

I am angry black woman are more likely to die in childbirth

I am angry that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their life time

And the other reason I am emotional to men

Is because as a woman I’m supposed to be civil with everyone

I’m supposed to be civil with people who want me dead

And who’d likely of lobotomized me if I was around 50 years ago

Little boys who drew swastikas on my hell of a dyke locker in 7th grade

And men who cat called my friends on the beach for

simply existing as just out of our preteens

I refuse to be kind to men who I wouldn’t trust to hold my drink

I refuse it and so I am cruel



IV.


So this womanhood I craved so badly when I was a child

Isn’t what it was cracked up to be

And it’s like being told Santa Clause isn’t real

And I fall into it

Like children’s building blocks held together with super glue

I became so skinny my sophomore year for a reason

Still nevertheless

I am not a woman because I cannot put my hair up on my own

I am not a woman because I don’t treat men like my mortal gods

I’m a dyke looking thing in a pink skirt

With a funky little limp




Lily Gerhard is a junior in OCSA’s creative writing conservatory. She is passionate about disability activism, writing novels, and Dungeons & Dragons. Her work is published in a few online magazines and hopes to publish an entire book of her very own someday. You can find her microwaving food from Trader Joe’s, trying to be a good parent to her dogs Flower and Poe, and putting her hair up into pigtails. Her favorite genre is space operas and her favorite dinosaur is a Brachiosaurus.

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