girl, you know I been there
sittin on the side of a cucumber fence
when the grown men
walk by you
with a shine-eyed look
they say sweetie you should smile
they say nice ass
you worry by the windows turned mirrors
in the night street
stealing glances at your slumped back.
straighten up. everything will be fine
if you present as world-ready as you aren’t.
this thing is so tired she can’t qualify as people
for a whole shift of work.
she will have to be quick fingers
engaging voice, soldier through
a nightshift of standing
on its feet. Now, when home,
she will ravel her way back to she or he or ze or queer (to person
heading to bed, soft blankets
covering all but the tip
of that sweet-nothing head.)