Opposing Folklore


is womanhood 

the simple stuff 

of silly little girls,

scribbling rainbows

on crumpled paper, 

with dreams

of gilded tresses 

teasing warm wind,

of fair skin 

and mauve apple cheeks?


it paints a fairytale 

of right, white, cis, and slight.

knights, muscular, masculine saviors 

in horses or in heavens.

of oneness, 

that exists, only in complement 

and in compliments

of looks and wombs.


it excludes discreetly, concretely, we unruly outsiders

born or bred into opposing folklore.

Opposing Folklore_Shon Mapp
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mother may i


…mourn my never babies

…shun the likes of ladies


…walk with too much pride

…refuse to hide my bride


…let my tongue cut sharp 

…make a mighty mark


…eat far beyond my belly’s fill

…smudge grease on windowsills


…own my body alone

…call my body, home


call my body home. 


do not give me dead things, wrapped in butcher 

paper, secured with string, accompanied by cards 

fated to mold and decay on nightstands and tables

inspiring dreams of falling teeth, fleeing heads 

like water spilling from smelly drunken mouths

do not give me flowers


bound for casket sprays and pageant girls in melting makeup 

whose youth’s been squandered away in musty auditoriums

wilting, in the thickened palms of industrious immigrants 

weaving between stopped cars on valentine’s/mother’s/father’s/every day


do not gift me an obligation to pretend that they, nor i,  are special

both born and extracted from earth, we adorn buttonholes 

cling weakly to arms, perch in nests of hair, and sit properly contained

dressing the most troubled in temporality

floral follies that make no difference at all

do not give us away


pollen coated paradoxes of contrition do not absolve violence

and unfaithfulness. i still recall the rose tattoo on her leg

and the way it danced near your head

the sweet pungent stink of sweat and dead


it’s no wonder i hate roses the most

Shon Mapp (she/her) writes about queer intimacy, kinship, and multi-cultural immigrant identities. Her work has appeared in Fourteen Poems, Prismatica, Opia and other amazing indie lit mags. She is an Assistant Print Editor at Kissing Dynamite and a reader at Chestnut Review. Her website: www.shonmapp.com