under the breadfruit tree

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he sat me down to “reason” with me
under the breadfruit tree
telling me i must have children
as if all i am is a receptacle for sperm
it is like this sometimes with men
they think they are allowed to use biology
to dictate your choices

as though having the power to grow life inside me
means that i should want to
as though having the ability to make a fist
means that we should fight

there are flaws in my argument
i do think that the existence of our hearts
means that we should love

but in what direction? that is not
for any of us to dictate
for one another

he got down on one knee and
looked deep into my eyes
and i could see that he thought
his stare was seductive
and it had likely worked on
other women before
but all it did for me was make me
laugh, uncomfortably, and
try to redirect this line of
questioning

(do you want to know me?
tell me how it is between
a woman and a woman.
)

and i also see how the conversation
was a result of globalization, of
neoimperialism, how he and other men like him
have been taught to dream dreams of
being taken care of by an American woman,
to go live in a place where there is more pavement,
or opportunity, or something,
when they already live in a paradise
that other people dream of living in

i should have worn pants instead of shorts that day
not because it would kept this thing from happening
but because of the mosquitos that bit me up and down my thighs

the one thing i could have done to protect myself
was wear a cloak of lies about a man back home
but i couldn’t, not with my lover
just a few meters away,

and because the truth
felt dangerous
i held fast to what little omission
i had left to make

eventually
i made his friends laugh too much
and he went away

damage done.

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