For A Girl
My father taught me how to shoot a gun.
by Lisa Zaran
I aimed the barrel at the row of tin cans
and hit one out of five. Not bad, he said.
Not bad at all. For a girl.
My brother told me to direct the ridicule
at my flesh and not my heart
because flesh heals he said, the heart
mothers its inferiority forever
and plants her guilt.
My husband encircled my vulnerability
as if it were a rosebush, protecting
the sections under attack, relinquishing
those that were lost, without remorse.
I love you, he said, no matter what.
I am strong and astonished.
Contentedly suffused with knowledge.
I can run and throw and punch with purpose
whatever needs a good hit.
It's horrendous, my notion of femininity.
To have a mind, to have a heart. Imagine!