This one is late, but I used the OctPoWriMo prompt ‘birdcage’.
TW: Transphobia, parental emotional abuse.
this cage is for my own good.
you chained my legs with hairclips
you locked the door with silk
you ask me to smile
and tell me to be polite, presentable
preen my feathers into shape
look less like a prisoner.
i didn’t know that i was a captive
until i told you where i wanted to go.
you cry and cry and strip me naked
ask me why I’d give up being beautiful
like every gift is an order – but then again
from you, it is, and I should learn
I love you, I’m sorry, please stop crying.
I’ll be a better daughter
I guess that I’ll keep trying
the cage door swings open, hinges vanished into rust
I stay upon my perch with feathers glued in place
scared that if i move
you will crumble into dust
I can feel your dreams inside me still
phylactery baby, carbon copy
you’re miles away but still i can’t help
telling myself in your voice
“be silent, be still
be polite and presentable
put your dresses on like armour (oh, they only weighed me down)
put your makeup on as masquerade (more than you could ever know)
be the perfect daughter with your bows and skirts and curls
then no one will find out my child doesn’t want to be a girl.”
this cage is for my own good
there’s no place in my mother’s world for people like me.