Poetry: “when i say fuck men” by Mandy Shunnarah

when i say fuck men
i don’t mean the verb

that opens legs
drops pants
commands sex

i mean the one
that dismisses men
as worthless
the verb that says
i’m done
i’m out
you have nothing to offer me

no one crosses my threshold
but whom i allow
this space
—my space—
is barred to you

when i say fuck men
what i mean is

i’m tired
exhausted and exasperated
i don’t oppress myself
no one born hates themselves
that’s something learned

when i say fuck men
what i mean is

i’m unlearning
what i “should” do
building the walls of my body
of my house
staking claim
on the space i take up in this world

when i say fuck men
i say it knowing

not everything is made for them

Mandy Shunnarah is an Alabama-born writer now living in Columbus, Ohio. Her essays and book reviews have been published in The Citron Review, Barely South Review, Entropy, The Missing Slate, New Southerner Magazine, PANK, and Deep South Magazine. Her poetry is forthcoming in Southern Women’s Review. Read more on her website offthebeatenshelf.com

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