The Flannel

I believe this society to be
deeply keen to enforce
distinctions of gender
fearful of course
of cheerful androgyny.
It starts with the naming of progeny.
Apart from a few anomalous instances
there are separate names for either sex:
"If it's a boy we'll call him Tex
and if it's a girl, Octavia."
And the con
goes on,
from codes of dress and behaviour
down to the smallest print of existence.
I was struck by all this
after a lucky purchase in a high-street chemist;
asking to be supplied with a flannel
I was politely directed to a little sub-section entitled
MEN'S FACECLOTHS.

by John Hegley

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