Written by Trini Rogando
Girl, from the moment you were
born you were destined to bear
a cross. Say a prayer and choke
on it until it lodges firmly in your
throat, deep where the sunlight
cannot reach—it must percolate,
waiting, until the wishing stars leap
from the sky.
Girl, you must pray for a
husband, and you must want it.
Take care of this wish. Carry it
and bear its weight. If it is cold,
heat the stove. If it hungers,
prepare a meal. Girl, you were
never given a choice. Your body
is a temple,
a catalyst of divinity,
a zealot for multiplying stars.
All girls wish to create new life.
Girl, you are not allowed
to wish to change yours.
Girl, you will marry a man by
the light of the fertile moon—
tan and round and filled with
blessing. Your belly will swell
and crest, just as the ocean tides
are pulled by the sky. Nevermind
your throat, gagged by seawater,
or your dislike, springing at sight.
Honor is two crossed lines, two
parted legs. Say it. Say it. See it.
Girl, when you arch your back,
his wood will bruise your twilit
skin and a prayer for mercy will
almost escape your drowning lips.
You will wonder: is this what love
feels like? You will wish to be a
star careening off the edge of the
horizon. Girl, this is your duty.
Girl, you were never given a choice.
Girl, no one will tell you of the sun.
You will not know you can turn
left into the orange grove, where
the faint touch of warmth beckons
the fruits to grow full and laden
with sweetness. No one will tell
you that the sun’s lips are soft and
gentle and feel nothing like the
burden of a splintered cross. Girl,
no one will tell you how her smile
can evaporate the salt wounds on
your tongue. How she can invite a
honeyed prayer to leap freely from
your breath, a sigh that unwinds your
shrouded dreams. You would think:
this is love. You would wish for dusk
to hang suspended in the sky; to live
in her fleeting caress forever. Girl, you
do not realize that you have a choice.
Girl, no one will tell you that you
can love a woman. But oh—Girl,
with your heavy moon heart—
if only you saw,
if only you knew.