Inspired by a day job experience.
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
I suffer this woman’s slings,
Toggling between conversations
With doctors’ offices and insurances
Assuring that her breathing difficulties
Are strictly her fault
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
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
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
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.
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.