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  • By Ryan Oliveira

to the elder who misgendered me nasty


Inspired by a day job experience.

Ma’am.

When a voice is considered maternal, The young defer to ma’am And the old refer to sweetheart. To them, gender is perception. So I play the mother-magician

Ma’am.

I suffer this woman’s slings, Toggling between conversations With doctors’ offices and insurances Assuring that her breathing difficulties Are strictly her fault

Ma’am.

She towers over my suggestions To let messages take effect. I explain verbatim: She needs to wait, Shading she is not the only patient Needing concentrated effort

Ma’am.

In that grinding modem-tone, Blistering me with beetled idiocy And her upper east snob-nose Like I’m her ignorant mammy To spit breath and sight on

Ma’am.

In her I don’t need myself dictated Manner of authoritarian servitude, Made worse by her mention of Trump, Her condescension of liberals That made her insurance possible

Ma’am.

I’m a man.

Had it with her sniveling misgendering, Intolerably talking down to me, Tossing her Ivy League degrees, Her administrative weight, All to offer a half-hearted apology:

I thought your name was Ryna.

With a snort, I forward her to the nurse Who has her laundry list of grievances, Unable to be bothered by the knock, The snob-knobbed sleep apnea Of an academic carapace.

Ma’am.

My phone is full of poisoned bandies. I transfer hot air to cold water, Neither mixing to listen, ototoxic to One another. I shut off. Silence: My gender returning to self again.


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Ryan Oliveira

Ideas.  I'm full of them.

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