My Future Daughter At Night

Art1208_Lhean
Image: “Recreating the Human Species” by Lhean Storm, acrylic markers and ink on canvas, 2016


Did my grandmother think the world would be better for her granddaughters? As we bring children into the world, we think that we will move forward, get better, as if certain illnesses will get eradicated like plague, or the measles, but like a virus, these “bad things” can be under an evolutionary phase, transforming into something dangerous, like stars that implode or explode or fade, only to give birth to new stars that burn brighter, faster. We think the world will be a better place. That’s our hope, isn’t it? That a man isn’t going to grab our ass, or stare down the cleavage of our dress. We simply think it’s going to get better, and yet we’re still battling men’s egos and fears, these men who think, believe really, that they can get away with whatever they do to us.

Orbitals
Image: “Orbitals” by Lhean Storm, ink and acrylic on paper, 2017

MY FUTURE DAUGHTER AT NIGHT

What will the night be like for you, Daughter,
twenty years from now,
when you’ll have to walk the streets late at night
to get to your car, catch your train, hail your cab?
What shoes will you wear?

Will you have carefully planned your night
in sneakers, or will you wear
six inch sexy heels at the bar
– your Kryptonite –
as you unexpectedly find yourself alone
walking the streets trying to get home
while being mistaken as that girl
lookin’ to get paid? 

Feel your forehead collide against the cold –

the tip

of your nose,

the drop

of your cheeks.

Cold. Cold.

Feel your blood chug
through feet and calves and fingertips
as you speedwalk to the place
where you need to be. 

You look determined. 
A badass. 
A shrinking violet. 
A sl*t. 
Just like a woman. 
You are a woman.  
Afraid.
Vigilant. 
Jezebel.

Feel air expand inside your lungs

in each quick step,
in the sly headcount of men

who (can) walk idly and alone.

You momentarily blend with those
walking in groups
leaving the bar,
when Daughter,
you walk alone. 

What will the night be like for you, Daughter,
twenty years from now,
when you’ll have to walk the streets late at night
to get to your car, catch your train, hail your cab?
What shoes will you wear?

Will you breathe a deep sigh of relief
when you arrive exactly at the place
where you need to be? 

You’re walking on air. 
On blisters. 
With purpose. 
Practically running. 

Will your precious cargo be pepper spray? A shank?
Will you premeditate your hair into a bun? 
Will you hum Avé Maria as you wedge your key tightly
between your index finger and middle finger? 
Will you release a bloodcurdling scream to rally the troops?

F$*%@CKING $*%@SSHOLE!

Daughter, I think about you tonight,
twenty years from now,
as I walk the streets late at night to catch my train.
Your embryonic poltergeist inhabits my sneakers –
cushioned soles offering comfort
as I stride quickly without a friend. 

My Queer Girl, Straight Girl, Trans Girl,
My Intersex Baby Love, My Girl, My Daughter,
I worry for you tonight.

I wish it were okay for a woman like yourself –
daredevil tutu-twirling fire-breathing breathtaking witch goddess
– to walk proudly alone, but I cannot promise you
that the world will love you back. 

I worry but know I shouldn’t
before you’ve even cracked your shell
through my tubes
to make yourself known.

 

Articles of Interest:

“The Problem That Has No Name: We still have no word to describe what happens to women living in a country that hates them” by Jessica Valenti

“All the Men Who Never Assaulted Me” by Maura Quint

“Relax, Ladies. Don’t Be So Uptight. You Know You Want It” by Anastasia Basil

“Join #Time4BlackTransWomen For a Moment of Remembrance” by Kenrya Rankin

“When Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Hits Home” by Ruth Hopkins

“The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail” by Dan Barry and Jeffrey E. Singer

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