I Wonder If She Smiles

 

The Poem

It’s a girl, she’s told and
I wonder if she smiles
Delicate wails on blooming walls
Playground brawls and nails chipped
Over daisy crowns her girl will fight for
Only to watch wither
Her daughter’s first glance in the mirror
Her second, her third
Her three hundredth
She read it’s the three hundredth
That makes the habit
So the very first trap
To snatch up her daughter is
The very form that wraps her
A scrapbook starts to shape
Of other kinds of cages
Pages paper-white to start with
Before they start to shine
Selfies safe to capture
Before they become lifelines
Streets safe to walk on
Before they run with crimes
Designed for daughters
Restaurants safe to dine in
Before the spaces under tables
Rise above the law
And hands can settle on her knee
And phones can see what
Was once reserved for love and sheets
In a world that seemed to exist
Before her girl drowned
In the waters she authored

It’s a boy, she’s told
Does she let out a sigh?
Relieved because somewhere in her mind
Hangs a headline
That runs through every
Door he’ll want to open
A rope to hold at every moment
When he chooses which objects
To stand on so he can feel taller
Not yet born, already adolescent
She thinks of the day where
He’ll come to choose a scent
Will he wear a fragrance meant
To scare, or wear it harmless
Like a wristwatch
To slide up an arm
Too thin for its man-sized links
Will the space between
Wrist and watch
Become the void he’ll learn
Is a blotch on his manhood?
What will he do then to prove
That he can carry the weight
Of the title already printed on his sheet?
He hasn’t yet formed
And he’s tossed in concrete
Cracking on his tongue
As he tries to speak
To tell of the hell swirling inside him
So instead he hurls his hell around him
His steel lifeline’s a tightrope now
So high from the safety of the ground
He’ll look to see the love he’s left below
And feel aggression’s vertigo
Still in the womb
He’s already consumed
In a fire she seems to have spread
But the flames weren’t in her head
Until she found out
This new life was male
And she isn’t twisting this tale
In her own handwriting
She thinks in a bold block typeface
That races his life to a raging blur

But the nurse asks her
If she wants to know
and she says no
So where does her mind go?
No Jim, no Jane
No name, no binding frame
No game of opposites or
Prophecies
No colour and
Every colour
No hurt to be spun by
Authors that runs through her head
No marriage, just love
No dress, just comfort
No form but forming
No choice but choosing, breathing
No held breath or violent sighs
No salt trapped behind the eyes from fear of crying
No fire to burn, or water to sink under
She doesn’t know and
Her child won’t grow against the wind of her premature will
She can’t rush to spill the ink
To print truth before its written
Hurry a baby out of her womb and into a prison
Where language can rage
But where she hears the winds of change
She’s not afraid of a blank page
Because it’s not boy or girl
Predator or prey
A choice of brain or body
Better or worse
It’s just hers
Words second
And first, a child
A child, she thinks
And in all this bad news
She’s got a reason to smile.

SEAN LÌONADH – WRITER/DIRECTOR/PERFORMER/PRODUCER

OLIVIA REITALA – CO-PRODUCER/1st ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

GEORGE HARWOOD – DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

THOMAS HANSEN – COMPOSER

KYLE STEWART – SOUND DESIGNER

PHILIP EDGE – VFX SUPERVISOR

SEAN LÌONADH – EDITOR

SUMAYA MOUSTAFA – CAMERA ASSISTANT

ROSS ELLIOTT – CAMERA ASSISTANT

NATALIE SHEARER – CHAPERONE

Cast

TITANA MUTHUI, CAROLINA LOPES, CALEB HUGHES, AMY JOSLIN, ANNIE IDEC, BENAIAH CUMMINGS, CASEY FORBES, JOHN GAFFIANO, EMI RIIKO, NAJA BERGEN DALE, CLEA DU TOIT, RAQUEL ARAGON, CLAIRE GALLACHER, ABAYNESH ESHETE, SAMANTHA ALEXA, VANESSA STRUCK

With thanks to:

DANNY MAIN, ALLY MCCRAE, TRISTAN ROUSSELOT SAINT CERAN, FIA ALNER, JAMES MCINALLY, CLAIRE TOOZE AND FAMILY, CITY OF GLASGOW COLLEGE, BROADCAST, BOOTS BUCHANAN GALLERIES, MITCHELL LIBRARY

 

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