You say you aim to communicate
I say you aim to assert power over me
We’re both saying the same thing

It doesn’t matter,
There is no language that doesn’t hurt the both of us

I am made of fragility and books
You are a creature of pain and anger
You are a weapon
I am a bullseye

It doesn’t matter,
The only thing we will ever share is shame


“You’re quiet.”
But when I open my mouth you open yours and talk over me
When I start a sentence you cut it halfway with pointless bullshit
You invade my space without looking at me
I’m just this small blob of woman to you
My space is yours, my body is an object, my time a commodity
Violence towards women is your birthright
It was taught to you at the cradle
Invisible, subtle. Gore and cruel.
You know a million ways to wield it and crush me

How old will I be when I manage to utter a complete sentence?
I have always second-guessed
Everything I have ever said.
Nothing has escaped my lips that hasn’t been thought and considered and weighed.
To be heard by your selective ears,
My voice needs to be mature and man-shaped
Husky and obscure, vaguely misogynistic.

You are entitled to my opinion
But expressing myself is a fight
Every single damn time.
I am quiet
I have been taught by secular tradition and culture
Books and TV and school and the old lady at the bakery
And every single one of my boyfriends
That women and children should be seen, not heard.
Unfortunately, I am both.

I am quiet, reflective, at times withdrawn
You own the world and you want me to say it is good
To mother you, love you, respect you
My voice is for you to influence and police
It doesn’t matter what I have to say
Unless it complements your empire

I am quiet
I boil inside
I have an ocean of words in my head and none of them are yours
My brain is a universe you don’t get to explore and colonize
I am quiet. I have nothing to offer you.
I am quiet. Hear me roar.