The Butch Ego

The fragility of the butch ego to which we are slave,
must be soothed by us,
whispered to and petted,
in private
as well as public
Where they can strut,
Cock of the walk.

Should their ego be slightly scratched,
a scratch that should be paid for by lips and tongue and sweet words,
Yet such currency is deemed unacceptable, rejected.
And we must have our own selves bound and lashed with a cruelty
Containing not that hint of sweetness we crave.
Our every flaw memorized, learned by rote,
Recited daily,
As if lamentation and prayer
Were needed
To remind us of the
Imperfections of hip and thigh
Of eye, nose, lips, and face
Of breast and belly.
And before long, even of mind and soul.
Soon we become,
Not enough.
Our totality,
added up
and blessed
within the filthy
ropes of our shortcomings,
No artistry within the knots.
—-all utilitarian in their purpose.

Until—one dear friend
Should hold a picture up to us,
A challenge to look.
Us, anew.
Nothing is different.
Yet we see not the list of imperfections
You used as a balm to your crackling, preening ego.

Now, that which was long missing has returned.
A fire kindled in the eyes.
Mischief and kindness curl the lips.
And life, glorious life, shines below the surface of skin.
I did gladly sacrifice the fire,
The mischief, the humor and kindness, the life beneath the surface of the skin
To shroud and cradle
Your precious crystalline fragile ego
So it would not break.
My diminished self, the glue
which held the chipped edges of your ego together,
Assuring yourself of your right to bluster
And strut in cockiness,
So you could feel it
And tell yourself I was lucky to have you
As you turned your face to the wind and let your hair whip behind you,
long ago.

Now, I place that pony tail in the bottom of my jewelry box,
Laid to rest like so many things.

As you wait for me,
think of me renewed,
undiminished.

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