The Doctor said:
“Maybe there’ll be no need for
Maybe with some toning exercises
at the gym
they’ll be fine.”
At some point, age fourteen,
I palpated them
And out came a thick white liquid
I was frightened
I was glad
[ and what if I am really a woman?
since a persistent itch between the legs
since the moistened skin, seems about to break open?]
ordered tests. I was hoping
for female hormones, in a diagnosed
Mother came with the test results
[a murderous banner]
in hand: “A Man,
good and proper!”
[Have I ever seen her more overjoyed?]
And: “look at this hair growth”, a family friend
pointed at me – back seat, a Sunday ride.
The thighs thickly sprouting, forest-like
while on the flabby torso breasts
“And if we go through
with the operation?”
will take care of esthetics, long-term”, said the Doctor,
“Though when the shirt comes off – something all too easy for a guy –
two white scars
will be visible.”
Under the nipples.
Under the puffy,
as if milk-filled, nipples of the adolescent.
A heaven-sent in winter
the snugness of clothes.
But there comes
spring, there comes
the outdoors season, of humid heat
Season of sweat
season of bad-aid!
mother too, at fourteen, tightly bound
her breasts in a wrap, to avoid being
Now, I know, it’s called
angina pectoris. Then, I thought
It was the breasts breaking out.
[That little girl had said as much – summertime,
before junior high school, at the village
uphill on the way to grandma’s;
she stood stock still:
my chest hurts as it’s growing”.
A few days before she had cried
over the first blood, her mother being complicit comforting
for the crime of being a woman. And:
“I want a boy cousin
not a girl!”
She’d said it one night she had me to herself. We were dancing Lambada. “How
can I explain? Mind
how you dance, mind
how you do your hair, how
we play princesses!”
I couldn’t make sense of it. She also said
“Gypsies devour children”. “The Turks
get earthquakes from God for their just desserts”. Plumb, carefree children. And, already, fear in orbit. The slaughter
merely imminent ]
But for now
“Gym. Gym. And toning exercises”, recommends the Doctor
Because the operation, indelible mark. “Gym.”
The father too roars, bright red:
“And not another word about operations”.