You can’t expect from me or tell me what to do,
and then affix your hatred to me like an ill-fitting shoe.
I don’t accept that my failure to put up with bigotry,
being marked as a failure, on my part, of empathy.
My refusing to let you, the predator, bite,
is not an indication of my moral failure or spite.
I did not die a thousand times to rise anew,
into the hateful hands of a violent few…
…who genuinely believe to their very core,
that they own me now or ever did before.
But you do not see me, you would not recognise,
because I died once and woke up with brand new eyes.
Be angry or content, I have no fear,
since my world is empty of you, you are not here.
Charl Landsberg is a transgender South African poet who’s poetry often focusses on issues of social justice, trans issues, feminism, anti-racism, etc… They often write from personal experience with abuse and the struggle of getting up again.