and as soon as I sank into my chair I caught sight of my mouth in the mirror. The red didn’t have any business being there and as I opened my painted mouth to speak fresh poems aloud, the lipstick smudged anyway.

i’ve stopped wearing bras these days — unless I am in the gym or out for a run — and the freedom that a man must feel holds me up like a truth I haven’t spoken in all my years, yet had felt the injustice in my bones.

i remember my own judging eyes, how I learned to turn my scornful lips upward in a teasing smile, as a woman in Times Square walked around topless — and another in Union, not too far away, strolled with her dignity proudly above the steaming subway grates.

the breasts on my chest are small and even if they were large would it matter if I let them breathe?


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