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I envy those women
who have managed
to harden their hearts
forge their sensibilities
in meticulous practicality
and build a fence
around their dreams
with shiny jadedness

those women who
can bet with their bodies
without gambling
with their hearts
who can dance
to the tune
of a master’s poetry
without falling in love
who can lift their skirts
climbing down the stone steps
of romance
without leaving a slipper behind
who can flip their curls
and giggle carelessly
over burning candles
without catching fire
and gaze at the moon
without going under a spell

I wish I had listened
when people tried to teach me
to take my heart
off my sleeve
and leave it
in a locked drawer
whenever I left the house

but I’ve always been
a bad student
insisting on doing it my way

so I just stay behind
and watch them
surround you
with their
queenly platinum crowns
of cold, calculating shrewdness
knowing my vulnerability
can never compete
with their worldliness
in your eyes