I’m sorry they made you believe
you didn’t deserve that little, black dress
because of the shape of your body.
I’m sorry they made you cover up
to protect their delicate sensibilities.
I’m sorry because you had to stiffle your spirit,
you couldn’t shout,
you couldn’t curse,
you couldn’t get mad
without being accused that your guts are spilling
from your mouth.
I’m sorry you were silenced.
I’m sorry your body is like a caged bird –
however hard you try to spread your wings,
the bars keep holding you in.
And I’m sorry they always confuse you –
I’m sorry they tell you you don’t need the accents on your lids
but they don’t care enough to tell you
that you are beautiful
without your war paint on –
and so you keep skipping back and forth
the line between
basking in your natural glow
and needing your layered masks and bloodied lips.
I’m sorry they insist on measuring your worth
by your plumage,
or the weight of your body,
or thickness of your legs,
or the pitch of your voice.
I’m sorry you were made to feel like your worth had to be measured,
when in fact you are weightless and capable of defying gravity
when you fly.
I’m sorry they said your wings aren’t strong enough
to endure the flight towards the sky,
that you were robbed the freedom
to feel the wind beneath your wings.
And I’m sorry there aren’t enough people speaking for you
when you find your voice trapped by your gilded cage.
I’m sorry there aren’t enough people
fighting for you to be free.
I’m sorry you’ve been designated as prey
And it’s probably hard for you to believe
that you are free,
when you’ve been living with all the restrictions
that’s been weighing down your wings.
And I’m sorry for that too.
But you should know,
that once a bird, always a bird.
They can put you in a cage
but that won’t mean
you’ll forget how to use your wings.
Gather your strength
and bid your time.
And when it arrives,
Fly and never look back.
Go back to the wild
where you can screech and claw and hunt
spread your wings
go wherever you want to go.
No one owns you.
You were never meant to be caged.