Manhood

jobriath

Manhood

What no one
took from me I hold
cheap. I
take it
off and put it
on again.

On my chest no
breasts–down
facing, men
press me into
sheets I don’t
iron. In heels I
save women to choose me,
free. I spend my
mouth
unbridled: you
needn’t be
afraid of me,
baby.

But it can’t be
won. They will never
win.

Thin as a
lie,
firm as a
fact, I
Sing to Thee of
Whatever. A
blank slate, a paper
doll, a suit with no
tie.

I make
bird houses for
dolls and hang them
inside, my borrowed
tools left out in the
rain, not the
sweat of
work.

It’s not for
sale. It can’t be
earned. It can’t be
given. It can’t be
won. They will never
win.

It is worn. It is only
worn.

My father
earned his, and I
won it.

As a boy I held it
cheap. Rough and tumble
winning, a common
outside game. In
bed, I tossed
javelins and shotput through
logic.

I caught the
gaze of men, and held it
cheap, men
calloused from where it
tugged, arms strong from
pulling, stomachs tight to be
covered. They looked
hysterical.

I sought the gaze of
women. They were
naked, and I
dressed them. When they took
it off, I put
it on again.

Is that all there is?

Grown, all men want me
naked, see me
naked, their outerwear
wounded, bodies
exposed, brass manhoods
shiny.

Blinded, some try to
take it, and we scold them for
looking. They hold it dear, so they
lose, and call women the
winners.

But it can’t be
won. They will never
win.

I take it
off and put it
on again.

– D. M. Collins

D. M. Collins

D. M. Collins is a journalist and writer based in Los Angeles.

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