Stephen Byrne – Because You’re A Girl

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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.