stealing my father’s clothes was a proper way to make myself
feel loved without asking for affection
when i was a kid i used to have nightmares
everytime i looked men in the eyes
men who were not my father
since then i have avoided looking
not to succumb to their invisible power
i am on my bed counting the ways
i can be brave in front of mighty people
i look at their bodies and their faces
listen to the tone of their voice
i hold my breath and project words like ‘you are not my father’
above their heads.
Elena Boldor lives in Cluj, Romania. She studies psychology and wishes she knew Lacan irl. Her poem Father Stretch My Hand is exploring female empowerment and how growing up as a female can feel like.