Stephen Byrne – Because You’re A Girl

you will bring life
into this world,
only to lose yours.
Because you’re a girl
you will suffer mutilation
to bleed & scream for a month.
Because you’re a girl
you will be brought to a river
to drown
since you weren’t born a boy.
Because you’re a girl
who loves the smell of books
you will be found hanging
from a tree
or buried beneath a pile of stones.
Because you’re a girl
you will sell your virginity at eleven
so food
can be put on the table for boys
& you will never hear
the giggles at school, yet
you will be taught
the meaning of HIV.
Because you’re a girl
dancing will avoid
the ends of your feet
& you will never
unearth the poetry of
flowers.
You exist only to be sold
like new clothes
at a market & your young body
to be branded property
all because
you are a daughter, sister, mother,
child,
you are her
your brokenness & shame written
into rules & laws
because you’re a girl.

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Stephen Byrne
Stephen Byrne is a chef and writer originally from Dublin and now lives in Chicago. His debut book 'Somewhere but not Here' was selected by Vinita Agrawal for the RL Poetry Award, 2016 International category. He was runner up in the 2016 and twice shortlisted for the ‘Over the Edge’ poetry competition. He was also shortlisted for The Redline Book Festival Poetry Competition 2014 and recently selected for the TCK Productions competition in London He has been published worldwide and writes on his site http://stephenbyrne.org