They Wished

They wished to say I was an intellectual,
equipped with always a book and an idea,
and so many uncomprehended words.

They wished to say I was an evangelist,
a prayer or a verse uttered often
in places they said God doesn’t belong.

They wished to say I was poor,
unable to find a job, homeless,
in an unscalable wall of debt.

They wished to say I was dumb and easy,
investing in my wardrobe and loving fashion,
accepting and accentuating my curves.

They wished to say I was an artist,
pages of doodles and imaginings in stacks
and paint stained hands.

They wished to say I was a girl,
smaller and weaker,
with my long hair and dresses.

They wished to say I was a writer,
filling pages of one notebook after another,
forgetting my purpose, getting lost in a new couplet.

They wished to say I was a prude,
as I championed the memory-old code,
not letting their lips touch mine.

They wished to say I was secure,
unaware of my bank account,
seeing only skin and height and composure.

They wished to say I was a pagan,
loving and accepting science,
and dancing naked in the moonlight.

They wished to say I was an academic,
with my teaching tone and studies to prove,
and always dreaming of the Ph.D after my name.

They wished to say I couldn’t.
They wished to say I should.
They wished to be the experts.
They wished I would be just one thing or nothing at all.

They wished.

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