let boys cry

and if we did
frat houses would turn into dog shelters
maybe revenge porn would link to online support groups
maybe they’d ask for tissues instead of nudes
maybe the stock market would crash
maybe locker room talk would turn into silent meditation
maybe cat calling would be a course on pet telepathy
maybe rap songs would be music again
maybe vaginas would be erected in statue instead of white male colonizers
maybe we wouldn’t be afraid to see the stars at night
maybe child porn would be censored instead of my nipples
maybe spanx would go out of business
maybe my girlfriend’s male co-workers would ask her how she was instead of asking who the guy is in our relationship
maybe maternity leave would be an extended promotion
maybe my back wouldn’t bristle when a man turns the street corner behind me
maybe jars of jam would become obsolete
maybe the president would step down from office and into a jail cell
maybe we’d have a woman of color for president
maybe we’d all be gay
maybe we’d erase gender from the dictionary since threatened masculinity would only be a treatable psychological disorder
maybe gun stores would turn into therapist’s offices maybe a frozen strawberry margarita offered with a (paper) squiggle straw would be served on tap at the brewery
maybe planned parenthood employees would be paid more than men who kick balls around on a field and yell
maybe boys night would be a support group for the fear of astrology
maybe my father wouldn’t grip his teeth when he talks about how he aches for his mother
maybe we’d wait til men had autonomy over their own body before cutting pieces of their skin off as an example of what consent really looks like
maybe our standard for sensitivity would not be half-hearted reassurance that a man is “just like that with the guys”
maybe we’d nurse a wound before checking to see if anyone saw we got hurt
maybe we’d stop saying size matters or measuring manliness by appendages at all since worth wouldn’t be placed on what gets hard, the whole point of this poem is a plea for softness. maybe the novelty of a man crying wouldn’t have tricked me into staying with a man who believed every tear he produced would cancel out each body he slept with that wasn’t mine
maybe my rapist could go into therapy
maybe my body could be mine again
and maybe on Wednesday a man wouldn’t have reached out to touch me at 10:00 at night, in the middle of the street, without a word or a thought, just stretched out his hand to pet my midriff, my center, the place where he came from but won’t ever acknowledge that his existence depended on someone else, maybe my body wouldn’t have swerved away in panic, maybe I wouldn’t have looked back behind me the whole night home, maybe I would have screamed aloud in anger instead of wanting to cry, because all i’ve ever been taught to do is cry
maybe I wouldn’t have to write poems like this
maybe men would write more poems
maybe that man would have told me what he was reaching for
and maybe I would have stopped to listen.