The nurses shrouded the infant in pink
       because by the nurture of her sex
                       {not its nature}
       her freedom had already shriveled 
               up inside of her mother’s warm womb
                       {the last true refuge}.
 The moment she breathed her first earthly breath
       the stench of sexism stung her hummingbird nostrils
                       {male doctors belittling female nurses}      
                                {slap / pinch / mansplain}.
 What life was left for this tiny girl to live
       when the world conspired to make her feel tinier & tinier
       as soon as she reached the hospital room?
 You, girl child, are biggest now as a newborn, still fluttering in naivety
       before they pluck off your wings & throw you in the dirt.
                       {Stay down, they hiss, stay down.}
       You’ll want to laugh at the irony
                       from the tangles of mud & slime
                       where you’ll forever be imprisoned—
       but you can’t
                       when you’re choking on tears & wondering why
                       they hate you for what God made you. 

Christine Sloan Stoddard

Christine Sloan Stoddard is a Salvadoran-American writer, artist, and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the founder of Quail Bell Press & Productions, including Quail Bell Magazine. Her books Heaven Is a PhotographBelladonna Magic: Spells in the Form of Poetry & PhotographyDesert Fox By the Sea, and Water for the Cactus Woman are available wherever books are sold. The poem featured here is from her novelette Naomi & The Reckoning, which is only available directly from the publisher. Find out more about her work at