Clover Poetry Series: The "L" Word
This poem is about the use of the word "lesbian." It's a label that girls struggle to use to identify themselves. This struggle is rooted in the fact that lesbian is often said as an insult, particularly in childhood, and it can come with some negative connotations. So, this poem is about girls reclaiming lesbian as a label.
"Don't call me that."
the word is glue on my skin so i peel it
gently, to not pull the little hairs on my arm off too.
the boys had thrown it at me,
flung it at me like mud
and now everyone can see it
i've learned, this word is not unclean
though i spent so long trying to hide it from my skin
trying to scrub it away with soap when it latched onto me
as i stood on the playground
but now i am older
i know it is okay
to kiss girls
and be a girl
i'll use whatever word i want to,
it does not hurt me
it is me
By Polly Young, 18